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Northern Ireland Companies are not Classed as UK

This article is presented for historic purposes. On 1 October 2009 the registration of Northern Ireland companies came under the jurisdiction of Companies House. As such companies who thus choose to have their registered office in Northern Ireland can do so and be incorporated under the same regime as those based in England, Wales or Scotland.

Have we moved out of the UK?

There I was one Tuesday morning at the website of a UK company formation agent ready to go. I had been considering registering a UK company for some time and had decided against an offshore business for the moment as I wanted to start slowly.

I live in Belfast, Northern Ireland and without delving too much in to politics; I am contented with belonging to the UK both now and in the future.

Anyway, as I completed the company formation process without too much fuss and submitted my application to Companies House, I was aware that the process seems almost too easy.

When the response came back from Companies House, my previous feelings were justified.

Companies House can not Incorporate a Company with a Northern Ireland Registered Office Address

Companies House Cardiff, or for that matter, London and Edinburgh can not register a company which has its registered office in Northern Ireland. Such an entity, as I soon found out is regarded as an Irish company.

I could not believe it.

Thinking I was a United Kingdom citizen all this time, watching the Queen on Christmas day, and paying UK taxes, but now, to my horror, my Belfast address was not suitable to be used as a registered office for a UK company.

It beggars belief, it really does.

The company formation agent I spoke to agreed with my analysis of the situation and told me that I essentially had two choices:
1. I could register the company as a UK company by using a registered office address in the UK, or should I say England, Wales or Scotland.
2. Form a Irish company which would allow me to use my Belfast address.

My answer? “I’ll think about it”. That was four months ago.

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