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Sorting the Paper:


Bureaucracy is a paperwork generating monster, and co-op and condo buildings are no exception.  From balance sheets to taxes and board minutes, the paper really stacks up.  The documents that do need to be produced and held by the corporation are dictated by Article 6 of the New York Business Corporation Law (BCL), in the case of cooperative buildings, and the New York State Property Law, Article 9-B, the Condominium Act, which governs condominium practices. The requirements are virtually the same for both.

Co-ops and condos are required to permanently store: the articles of incorporation and all corporate documents, bylaws, rules and regulations and all amendments thereto. They must also keep the minutes of board and membership meetings, audit reports, year-end financial statements and the names and addresses of unit owners and their percentage of ownership.

Accounting requirements, under the law, are clear.  All tax returns should be kept permanently, but the supporting paperwork, like records of income and deduction, need only be kept for seven years to satisfy the IRS Code. Employee records, including benefit and pension plans should be kept permanently, while employee tax records should be kept for at least four years.

Reports that buildings are required to produce and distribute to owners and shareholders include an annual financial report prepared by an accountant, which should contain a full audit of the books, balance sheet and a cash flow report, in addition to a notice regarding the annual shareholders meeting, which, in the case of co-ops, may be served as early as 60 days in advance and no later than 10 days in advance.

Minutes must be recorded and kept for every board meeting.  Meeting minutes can be presented as evidence in legal proceedings, so be they should be documented accurately.  Additionally, potential buyers may ask to examine the minutes to get a feel for would-be neighbors.  With this in mind, it is important to be transparent when recording minutes.

Ultimately, keeping documents and records organized, and communicating responsibly and openly will help keep your building a functional, harmonious space.



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