One of the most critical elements of owning a business is the need to have a physical address. However, with more and more companies moving away from the brick and mortar of previous generations and having an exclusively virtual presence, this can be complicated in matters that require a physical address for business purposes. In this article, we discuss the legality of virtual addresses for business purposes.
What Is A Virtual Address?
Virtual addresses are addresses that a business may utilize as its official business address despite not physically being located on the premises and avoid the overhead associated with rent. Most virtual addresses serve as a clearinghouse to collect and forward mail for the business and allow the company to rent conference room space if needed.
Why Is Having An Address Important If The Company Is An Online Company?
Under Florida law, any business registered in the State of Florida must provide three addresses. These addresses are: the mailing address, the billing address, and the physical address. The addresses that are listed become a matter of public record. A business may use one address for all three purposes.
Why Not Use A P.O. Box?
Although businesses can use a P.O. Box for the mailing and billing address, they cannot use it for a physical address.
Why Are Virtual Addresses Allowed?
Virtual addresses are allowed because they are actual physical addresses. They are a physical location where the business receives mail and legal notices. Business owners can also use these addresses on other legal documents such as loans, tax forms, and bank account information, whereas a P.O. Box might not suffice.
Are There Limitations?
Besides not being a P.O. Box, there are no limitations as to what constitutes a virtual address. For example, many law firms or certified public accountants will allow their offices to be used as a virtual address for their clients and enable their employees to serve as registered agents for the business.
What Else Does A Virtual Address Do?
The virtual address allows companies to “have offices” where they otherwise might not be able to afford. For example, a new start-up company might want to have the prestige of a New York Wall Street address but cannot afford the rent of a physical office. A virtual address would allow them to have this prestige while avoiding the costs associated with renting an office on Wall Street.
The concern about a virtual address is that many clients may be off-put because it does not reflect the business’s physical location. This can create an issue of trust between the company and the client.
Contact Dowd Law
Before signing an agreement for a virtual address or listing your home as a physical address, contact Dowd Law. Our experienced attorneys will consult with you to ensure that you meet your business goals and needs.