Business records are those documents kept by a business over time. These can include a wide range of different papers, forms, and documents, such as:
- Records of sales, such as receipts and invoices
- Expenditure sheets
- Contract records
- Tax records and information
- Employee documentation information
- Bylaws and other related information
- Records of major changes in the business, such as changes in bylaws
Records can include a wide range of subjects, but the term “business records” is often associated with the accounting side of business operations. Businesses can sometimes be subjected to audits by government entities according to various business laws. They may have their records checked randomly or periodically in order to help prevent fraud and other violations.
Business record violations may depend on the type of business, as well as state and local laws. Laws may be different depending on the size of the business, purpose of the business, and other factors. Some common business record violations include:
- Falsifying documents
- Tax violations, such as failing to file tax returns or filing false information
- Disclosing protected information without the consent of the owners
- Insider trading violations and other related crimes
- Concealing assets, especially for the purposes of lowering taxes
- Tampering with business records, i.e. “cooking the books”
Some of these violations can be considered very serious and may even result in serious legal consequences. In order to avoid violations, businesses should keep their records for several years, and check them periodically to ensure they aren’t being tampered with.
Some business record violations can result in actual criminal charges. For instance, some tax violations and other white-collar crimes can result in criminal fines and jail time. Other violations can result in civil lawsuits, especially if the violations have caused losses to other parties. Some business record violations can also result in class action lawsuits if enough people have been affected.
Business records can often be complex and extensive. The larger the company, the more complicated the records can become. You may need to hire a business lawyer in your area if you need any type of legal assistance with business records. Your attorney can assist in reviewing documents to ensure that your company is complying with business laws. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit or attend any court hearings, your lawyer can provide you with legal assistance and representation during the process.