The short answer is yes, you can. Once you have a virtual office, that office can be listed as your official registered business address in the New Zealand Companies Register.
If you’re operating a business from home, or you’re interested in starting a New Zealand-based business while living overseas, a virtual office can be a fantastic option – giving you flexibility and peace of mind.
Why do I need a registered business address?
New Zealand has several requirements for companies wanting to join the Companies Register, and one of them is a local registered office address.
If you don’t have one, you will be unable to open a New Zealand subsidiary, or operate as a New Zealand Company.
Fortunately the term “registered office address” is quite broad. It could be a traditional office, it could be your home address (if you have a home business), it could be your solicitor’s address, or it could be a virtual office.
You and your staff don’t actually need to trade from the address. But certain company documents must be kept there for at least seven years. These include:
- The minutes of all meetings and resolutions of shareholders
- The register of directors interests
- All minutes off meetings of directors and directors’ committees.
- Certificates given by directors
- Full names and addresses of current directors
- All written communication to shareholders
- Copies of all financial and group financial statements, and accounting records.
- Your company constitution
- Your share register (unless your constitution sets out a different arrangement)
What exactly is a virtual office?
A virtual office is a physical address, owned by another company, that essentially becomes your official “office” even though you’re trading elsewhere.
One of the main purposes of a virtual office is to be a place to store your important company documentation, in paper and/or electronic form. These offices also come in handy whenever you need a physical address for business activities. Examples of these include to officially register a business vehicle, to send and receive parcels and correspondence, or to list as a street address on your website.
Virtual offices are usually provided on a fixed-term contract that you can renew, for instance from month to month. Often there are a range of add-on services offered.
Why pick a virtual office over a traditional commercial premises?
After the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world in 2020, many companies started to realise that remote working could be a better way of doing business.
When staff members can work from anywhere, a company’s potential talent pool becomes much larger. Employees are also often happier working from the comfort of their own home, with a better work-life balance and increased productivity.
Without a traditional office it’s also possible to save on day-to-day costs like power and maintenance expenses, and without the need to commute into work your environmental footprint also shrinks.
Offices in central Auckland and Wellington can run into tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. When you add a virtual office to your remote work set-up, you receive a professional-looking city address without being locked into an expensive rental contract.
In short, having a virtual office in New Zealand can give you the best of both worlds, preserving your professional image while saving you time, resources, hassle and money.
Whether you’re a global business wanting to expand, or you’re a local company interested in alternative working options, a virtual office could be perfect for you.
Why use a virtual office rather than a solicitors’ or accountants’ premises?
Lawyers and accountants are usually busy professionals who represent a lot of people.
While they might allow you to use their premises as a registered office address, they won’t always have the time to make you their priority.
Virtual offices on the other hand are explicitly tailored to the needs of modern businesses, and they harness the power of technology to make your operation run smoothly.
This can include scanning and instant electronic mail forwarding, meaning you can read and answer your correspondence as soon as it arrives in the mailbox, no matter where you are in the world.
What type of phone services can I expect?
Frequently, virtual office providers will offer options such as a toll-free (0800) business phone number, a local number, and a call-forwarding or virtual receptionist service.
If you’re operating from overseas, having a toll-free local phone number which is answered during business hours can help your business build trust and credibility.
If you live in New Zealand, having a business number will stop people from disrupting your family life, by calling you on your home phone line with business enquiries.
What if I already have a business in NZ?
Since a business’s registered office address appears publicly on the Companies Register, some home-based entrepreneurs choose a virtual office for more privacy, and to create a bit of separation between their work lives and their personal lives.
You can list a virtual office street address on your website, on your business cards, letterheads and company documents, making your garage-based business look more established, credible, and trustworthy.
If you’re someone who travels a lot, a virtual office address also gives your customers a fixed point of contact with you, meaning you won’t need to worry about missing important letters or phone calls.
What about residential address requirements?
In addition to your registered business address, if you want to operate as a New Zealand company you also need to provide residential addresses for your directors. The law currently states that at least one of your directors must be living in New Zealand or Australia.
If your company doesn’t meet this requirement, there may be options available to you such as hiring a professional resident director. Usually this arrangement is made on a contract basis, it should be someone trustworthy and someone who has expertise in your industry.
If this is a service you’re interested in, Private Box may be able to put you in touch with suitable candidates and get the ball rolling, via our introductory service. Get in touch with us today, and see if we can help.
What is the difference between an address for service, an address for communication, and a registered business address?
To register and operate a company in New Zealand you must provide an address for service and an address for communication, as well as a registered office address.
An address for service is a place in New Zealand where people can serve you with legal documents and court summons, and where you can register your intellectual property or IP.
If you’re a landlord, a tenant, or a commercial pilot operating in New Zealand you also need to meet this requirement before you can do business here.
Some people use their virtual office as an address for service (and this is a service Private Box does provide), but the law is still a little ambiguous around this. Other options for your address for service include the address of your lawyer.
An address for communication can be an email address, a PO Box, or a physical address such as a virtual office.
Do I need a registered office if my company is on the Overseas Company Register?
If you want to trade in New Zealand but you’re not interested in opening a subsidiary or in transferring your company here, your company can be added to the Overseas Company Register.
You don’t need a registered office address for this but you do need to provide an address for service, an address for communication, and a “principal place of business”. This is something that virtual address companies such as Private Box can provide.
For more information about operating as an overseas company, take a look at the companies register website.
Where will my virtual office be?
There are a few companies operating in New Zealand who provide virtual office services in the country’s major cities. Currently, Private Box offers virtual office services in New Zealand’s two largest cities, Wellington and Auckland.
We also offer PO Boxes only in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown.
What are the next steps?
Don’t leave anything to chance, before you register your company, you should make sure that your registered office address or your principal place of business is set up and ready to go.
If you’re interested in Private Box’s virtual office or principal place of business services, you can take a look at the information provided on our site or get in touch with us today to discuss your options.
We can also help you incorporate your company.