The virtual registered office in Europe | consultation European Commission

door Ellen Timmer

For Dutch trust offices, with their specialisation in providing domiciliation for companies, it will be interesting that the European Commission has started a consultation on digital company law that also includes questions on a virtual registered office.

In the questionnaire the virtual registered office is introduced as follows:

With the digitalisation of the economy and companies operating in an increasingly virtual environment, new questions/challenges also appear for traditional company law rules. These include the use of new technologies and new scenarios, such as companies with virtual rather than physical registered offices. Traditionally, a registered office refers to the physical address of a company. For legal and administrative reasons, all companies are normally required to have a registered seat, which usually corresponds to the location where the company has its physical office. However, in the recent years, the perception of how business can be conducted has evolved. While the concept of a “virtual registered office” is not defined, there are more and more companies operating without permanent physical offices.

 

The following questions are asked:

Question 27. What do you understand by the concept of a virtual registered office?
Question 28. Do you think that virtual registered offices can serve real business needs?
Question 29. In your experience, is the use of virtual registered offices widespread/growing?
Question 30. In your opinion, what is the overall impact of companies using virtual registered offices?
Question 31. What issues does the use of virtual registered offices raise?
Question 32. Is there a need for any action to address the use of virtual registered offices?

 

On my personal blog (in Dutch) I have written an article on the plans of the future of the Dutch trade register. In the Netherlands SMEs experience major problems with the disclosure of private data through the trade register, not only unwanted commercial approaches, but also nuisance and threats. Many smaller companies use a residential address of the owner, shareholder or director as their business address, which is increasingly causing problems. The Dutch government is looking for a solution that respects the purpose of the trade register.

We’ll see if Europe is going to do something in regard of virtual registered offices.

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