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Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsJuly 8, 2008

Can I use a rented mailbox address as my legal business address?

I am starting a home-based online retail business and need to file a dba application. It asks for a legal street address, a post office or other mail-only address and then my address as owner. Can I use a rented mailbox address for my legal street address (so I don't have to make my home address public)?
Many states do not permit you to use a PO Box as your legal street address, so you’d have to check with your local county clerk (where you would file your DBA form).

They want to know that there is a responsible human being (theoretically) at the premises who would be able to accept service of process or other official notifications.

A PO Box is just a box; U.S. Postal Service workers have no particular obligation to accept these notices on your behalf.

Because they do not want to disclose their home addresses, the owners of startup companies sometimes use corporate identity programs at places such as Regus or HQ Global Workplaces, or services such as "Mail Boxes Etc." or "UPS Store," since they offer street addresses and not a PO Box.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.

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