What are company statutory books?
Statutory books are records about your limited company which are legally required to be kept and safely stored. The relevant documents are usually kept in a bound book or a ring binder.
Alternatively, they can also be held in electronic format providing that you are readily able to obtain hard copies of some documents if required to do so.
Some companies may find this more practical but to avoid any problems, Torr Waterfield keeps the original, physical copy and also a scanned copy of the documents if we are your Registered Office.
Every UK Company is required by law to have a set of statutory books and to maintain/adjust them accordingly.
What should be stored in them?
These are just a few of the documents which are usually kept in the company statutory books, there are other relevant documents which should be stored, but the list would be too long if I was to write them all! – So here is a basic list of both compulsory and recommended documents to store:
- The certificate of incorporation
- The memorandum and articles of association
- Any share certificates and stock transfer forms
- Any minutes of meetings
- Register of members (compulsory)
- Register of directors (compulsory)
- Register of secretaries (compulsory)
- Directors and secretaries residential addresses (compulsory)
- Company address or company name changes
Because you are required by law to have statutory books, it is extremely important that the records are kept up to date and adjusted where necessary.
How long should you keep them for?
The statutory books should be kept from the date of incorporation until the cessation of the company – This means even dormant companies should continue to maintain them.
The minutes of meetings and resolutions must be kept for at least 10 years from the date of the meeting to which they relate.
Where are they stored?
The statutory books are usually stored at the Registered Office address. However, they are also commonly stored at the companies SAIL address (Single Alternative Inspection Location).
Who can view them?
Any member of the public has a right to request an observation of the company’s statutory books (with a notice period of 2 to 10 working days, depending on the circumstances) if they provide a reasonable explanation for doing so. This will involve stating the following before allowing access:
- Name and address of person, company or organisation making the request
- Purpose of inspection
- Who the information will be given to
- How the information will be used
Of course, the statutory books should also be available for inspection by HMRC and Companies House. This can be any time between 9:00am and 3:00pm every working day.
In reality, it is rare that requests are made to view the statutory books of a company. Information that would be kept relating to any given company is available from Companies House either electronically or through the post for a small fee.
So why is maintaining the company statutory books so important?
HMRC guidance states that “If you do not keep adequate records or you do not keep your records for the required period of time, you may have to pay a penalty.”
If during HMRC’s visit they find that the records are not kept to an adequate standard they will give you the chance to update them before they come for a second visit.
If the records are still deemed as inadequate, it means that you could ultimately receive a fine of up to £3,000 – Even for small companies!
What if my company statutory books are missing?
It is not unusual for clients to admit to not being aware of the company statutory books whereabouts – it is however possible for them to be reconstructed.
One of our services for clients is to act as the Registered Office for their company, if requested to do so – which also involves storing and updating the company statutory books and filing the Annual Return. For more information on this, please contact us so we can help!
Amy Fisher, Administration