While it is perfectly legal to use your home address for your small business, it may not be a good idea. Using your home address for your small business address blends your personal and business lives together — rarely a good idea. In addition, having your home and business address the same can lead to some uncomfortable and even embarrassing moments.
Pros and Cons
The best reason for using your home address for your small business is that it’s simple and requires no work on your part. You’ll receive all your mail in one place. However, you’re robbing yourself of an opportunity to look professional. Your business address is part of your business identity. Simply purchasing a post office box can add credibility to your business. Also, using your home address for a business address can be dangerous. Your business address is published in many different places, including official business directories and online at Google or Yahoo! Maps. The first day an irate or curious customer shows up at your front door, you’ll regret using your home address.
The simplest business address solution beyond using your home address is a post office box. However, this can look bad because fly-by-night companies often use P.O. boxes. Business service companies like The UPS Store and FedEx Office provide private mail service with a street address and a suite number, making you look more professional. If you sometimes need to meet clients in person, talk to businesses in your area to see if one has office space it would be willing to lease you part-time, and arrange to receive mail there as well under a separate business name and suite number. Another solution is using a virtual mail service. It provides an office mailing address with suite number, and opens and scans all your incoming mail. You can access your mail from anywhere online, and have the service dispose of anything you don’t need physically. The rest is mail-dropped to you on your schedule. You keep your home address private, and you eliminate the problem of lost mail.
To avoid complications later, register your business with a non-home business address when you deal with the government. While you can always change data with state registries, it can be difficult; they share information with dozens or hundreds of other entities, and you may still be receiving mail at your home years after changing your address. You can even register a non-home business address before you know the official name of your business.
You can still claim your home office and other home-related expenses as tax deductions if your business address is different from your home address. Moreover, expenses incurred in creating and developing your business address, whether virtual or physical, can be deducted as legitimate business expenses.