To put it simply, yes, you can use a post office box as a business address, as long as you have either your or your registered agent’s address listed on your business license when you registered your Limited Liability Company (LLC).
While we’re on the subject, let’s dive a little more into how addresses and LLCs work together.
Advantages of Using a P.O. Box for an LLC Address
Using a P.O. Box is particularly beneficial when you’re a remote business owner and want to keep your information private and more secure (and when you don’t physically have an address other than your home). You can monitor and manage a P.O. Box better compared to your residential address, making it easier to track mail coming into your business and keeping it separate from your personal mail.
Factors to Consider Before Registering Your LLC Address
Before registering your LLC, you’ll want to consider a few things before making the jump. Consider the following before officially writing down the address of your LLC:
A registered agent is appointed by a business to receive all sorts of business documents— from legal documents to official notices to even government documents— on behalf of your business. Business owners will have a registered agent if they’re opening a business in a particular state but don’t have a physical address there.
Registered agents also act as a point of contact between the business entity and the government agencies, bill collectors, or entities trying to contact the business— all while keeping the privacy of business owners off the public record. In certain states, only a certain type of person can be a registered agent, like attorneys or officers, but in other states, it’s a bit laxer.
While some lawyers will suggest using your registered agent’s address as your official business address others won’t, saying unless your agent is yourself, because it’s not “under your control.”
When conducting business— especially online— maintaining professionalism and legitimacy is a big priority, especially when looking to get paid online. However, you can still create a professional appearance, making sure your logo, website, and communication are top-notch. Using a registered agent or your own physical address can show the legitimacy of your business, and can help attract and retain customers, and establish strong partnerships even from thousands of miles away.
Consider how using a P.O. box may impact the perception of your business and do what’s possible to showcase your legitimacy for anyone who happens upon your business online.
Some Institutions Require Physical Address
While certain states like Wyoming, Delaware, and Nevada don’t require you to have a physical address, other states have stricter requirements, most states in the US require LLCs to have a physical address to register with the state or federal government as a business owner. If you work from home, or you don’t want your personal address to be on certain papers, you might want to make sure what states hold what requirements before forfeiting an official business address.
If you’re a commercial business or brick-and-mortar, then you’ll of course need a physical address to conduct your business.
The Corporate Veil
Law 4 Small Business highly discourages LLC owners from using a P.O. Box for their address, using the threat of piercing the corporate veil being dictated in court as a big reason.
“If you’re not your own Registered agent, then you SHOULD NOT USE the Registered Address as your company’s business address,” they explain. “The reason is this address is not in your control. Seldom will they be equipped to actually process mail, and unless you’ve filled out USPS Form 1583, the Registered Agent is not authorized to be a receiving agent for you. In short, you would violate US Postal Service regulations.”
Using a P.O. Box as a business address could create the perception that your business isn’t legitimate— or worse— is trying to somehow hide its true location. This could eventually lead to “piercing the corporate veil,” particularly if the business is involved in legal action.
This is why it’s integral to use a physical address that’s closely associated with and controllable by your business— to maintain the separation between the company and its shareholders and to avoid potential legal issues.
You might be using a P.O. Box because local zoning laws prohibit you from using your home address as a business, letting employees work out of your home, or having other home/business relationships. You’ll need to know your rights and the regulations on this (even the amount of noise you’re making could affect it) and how that can play into where you can receive mail.
Consider the zoning laws where you’re working, and take into consideration where you’ll receive mail legally.
Alternatives to a P.O. Box for an LLC Address
So, what if you found out you don’t want to use your P.O. Box for your LLC address? There are a few alternatives you can consider using instead.
Think about a virtual mailbox service, which is a remote mailbox that receives your mail separate from your home but with its very own street address, many of which you can manage through an app, like iPostal1.
You can also use a physical address service, like physicaladdress.com, or even a UPS store to help store your business mail.
An affordable and convenient option for your LLC address, is using your home address. Using your personal address as the address of your business can save you money from paying for a subscription and doesn’t require you to have a physical location.
However, the potential downsides to using your home address are privacy and zoning laws that may not allow home-based businesses, and the potential legal liability if your business is sued. Plus, getting lots of business advertisements in the mail can start getting tiresome.
You might have already been considering leasing a commercial space for your LLC, in which case, sending your mail there could be a great option. It’ll look more credible to other businesses and potential clients seeing that you have a place of your own, plus it’ll sync all of your work in one place.
Consider some potential negatives, like being much more expensive and challenging to find a long-term lease or place to buy.
Virtual Business Address
If you’re looking for a professional and flexible option for your LLC address, a virtual business address might be a great choice. This entails using a physical address without actually occupying the space— perfect for businesses that operate mostly online or don’t require a physical location. You can keep your privacy concerns taken care of, save money from renting a space, and still have ease of use to get your mail when you need it.
Something to note: there will probably be a cost for owning and maintaining it.
Managing Your LLC With Ease
We understand there is a lot that goes into starting a business, from choosing a business structure, which address to use, and everything in between for your day-to-day.
Let us help with taking some of the pressure off. When you form your LLC with doola, you get all the guidance you need every step of the way from a professional. Our services don’t stop there either. We can help you manage your business finances so that you can focus on growing your company.
What is the best address to use for an LLC?
Consider using your home address (as long as they adhere to your zoning laws) or a virtual or business mailbox to house your business address.
Is a physical address the same as a PO Box for an LLC?
No— your physical address is where you conduct business, and your PO Box is where you may be receiving mail for that business. They aren’t always the same thing.
What address do I use for my online business?
As long as it makes sense for your business, you can use your home address for an online business, considering you’re doing the work based out of your home.
Can I register a company without an address?
A physical address is usually required to register a business, which is why you’ll need a registered agent or business location (if you’re not working from home).
What is valid address proof for a business?
Ways to prove your residency for your business include credit card statements, a utility or rent bill, a property tax bill, or a mortgage statement could be used as proof of address for your business.