How a Meeting Minutes Template Can Protect Your Business

Written by Christi Hayes and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Keeping minutes is not just good business practice, it is also required by law. Each state requires corporations to keep minutes of shareholder and board meetings. Although keeping minutes can be tedious and time consuming, it is an important process if you want to ensure your company is on the right side of the law. Fortunately, a meeting minutes template can make keeping minutes easier and faster. Failing to keep detailed minutes could lead to major legal and financial problems in the future. Below are just a few of the reasons why keeping minutes is so important.

Legal defense

If your company becomes involved in litigation then your company's meeting minutes will be very important for helping defend against accusations made against it in court. Meeting minutes are considered legal documents and, as such, they provide proof of the decisions made by a company and the circumstances surrounding those decisions. For example, if an automobile manufacturer is accused of deliberately misleading consumers about a specific car model's performance capabilities, then meeting minutes could be used to show that the board of directors had reason to believe the claims about the car model were accurate at the time even if they are now in dispute.

Tax problems

Keeping detailed and accurate meeting minutes is also an important task when it comes to explaining potential tax issues to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If a company is being audited then there is a good chance that the IRS will want to see the company's minutes. This is because minutes can help explain some of the financial decisions a company made that may have raised the suspicions of the IRS. For example, if a company's expenses look suspicious then meeting minutes could help prove to an IRS auditor that those expenses were completely justifiable and legitimate.

Intellectual property claims

Intellectual property claims, such as claims involving copyright and trademark infringement, are growing all the time, especially in a world where technology has made ideas more valuable than ever before. If your company is accused of infringing on another person or business' intellectual property rights then meeting minutes could go a long way towards showing that no such infringement occurred. For example, Company A may claim that Company B's logo is too much like its own and file a claim against Company B as a result. Company B's meeting minutes, however, may then show that the design for its logo was not based on Company A's logo and that Company B's board of directors likely had no knowledge of Company A's logo in the first place.

If you want your company to be protected from legal exposure and to avoid problems with the IRS then you need to ensure that you are keeping accurate meeting minutes. Remember that requirements for meeting minutes vary by state, so it is useful to check what your own state's regulations are beforehand. A meeting minutes template, however, can be useful for many companies that need minutes taken quickly and accurately and with a minimum amount of hassle.

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