§ 16.01. Corporate Records (a) A corporation shall keep as permanent records minutes of all meetings of its shareholders and board of directors, a record of all actions taken by the shareholders or board of directors without a meeting, and a record of all actions taken by a committee of the board of directors in place of the board of directors on behalf of the corporation.
(b) A corporation shall maintain appropriate accounting records.
(c) A corporation or its agent shall maintain a record of its shareholders, in a form that permits preparation of a list of the names and addresses of all shareholders, in alphabetical order by class of shares showing the number and class of shares held by each.
(d) A corporation shall maintain its records in written form or in another form capable of conversion into written form within a reasonable time.
(e) A corporation shall keep within the commonwealth a copy of the following records at its principal office or an office of its transfer agent or of its secretary or assistant secretary or of its registered agent:
(1) its articles or restated articles of organization and all amendments to them currently in effect;
(2) its bylaws or restated bylaws and all amendments to them currently in effect;
(3) resolutions adopted by its board of directors creating one or more classes or series of shares, and fixing their relative rights, preferences, and limitations, if shares issued pursuant to those resolutions are outstanding;
(4) the minutes of all shareholders' meetings, and records of all action taken by shareholders without a meeting, for the past 3 years;
(5) all written communications to shareholders generally within the past 3 years, including the financial statements furnished under section 16.20 for the past 3 years;
(6) a list of the names and business addresses of its current directors and officers; and
(7) its most recent annual report delivered to the secretary of state under section 16.22.
§ 16.02. Inspection of Records by Shareholders (a) A shareholder of a corporation is entitled to inspect and copy, during regular business hours at the office where they are maintained pursuant to subsection (e) of section 16.01, copies of any of the records of the corporation described in said subsection (e) of said section 16.01 if he gives the corporation written notice of his demand at least five business days before the date on which he wishes to inspect and copy.
(b) A shareholder of a corporation is entitled to inspect and copy, during regular business hours at a reasonable location specified by the corporation, any of the following records of the corporation if the shareholder meets the requirements of subsection (c) and gives the corporation written notice of his demand at least 5 business days before the date on which he wishes to inspect and copy:
(1) excerpts from minutes reflecting action taken at any meeting of the board of directors, records of any action of a committee of the board of directors while acting in place of the board of directors on behalf of the corporation, minutes of any meeting of the shareholders, and records of action taken by the shareholders or board of directors without a meeting, to the extent not subject to inspection under subsection (a) of section 16.02;
(2) accounting records of the corporation, but if the financial statements of the corporation are audited by a certified public accountant, inspection shall be limited to the financial statements and the supporting schedules reasonably necessary to verify any line item on those statements; and
(3) the record of shareholders described in section 16.01(c).
(c) A shareholder may inspect and copy the records described in subsection (b) only if:
(1) his demand is made in good faith and for a proper purpose;
(2) he describes with reasonable particularity his purpose and the records he desires to inspect;
(3) the records are directly connected with his purpose; and
(4) the corporation shall not have determined in good faith that disclosure of the records sought would adversely affect the corporation in the conduct of its business or, in the case of a public corporation, constitute material non-public information at the time when the shareholder's notice of demand to inspect and copy is received by the corporation.
(d) The right of inspection granted by this section may not be abolished or limited by a corporation's articles of organization or bylaws.
(e) This section shall not affect:
(1) the right of a shareholder to inspect records under section 7.20 or, if the shareholder is in litigation with the corporation, to the same extent as any other litigant; or
(2) the power of a court, independently of this chapter, to compel the production of corporate records for examination, provided that, in the case of production of records described in subsection (b) at the request of a shareholder, the shareholder has met the requirements of subsection (c).
(f) For purposes of this section, "shareholder" includes a beneficial owner whose shares are held in a voting trust or by a nominee on his behalf.
§ 16.03. Scope of Inspection Right (a) A shareholder's agent or attorney has the same inspection and copying rights as the shareholder represented.
(b) The corporation may, if reasonable, satisfy the right of a shareholder to copy records under section 16.02 by furnishing to the shareholder copies by photocopy or other means chosen by the corporation including copies furnished through an electronic transmission.
(c) The corporation may impose a reasonable charge, covering the costs of labor, material, transmission and delivery, for copies of any documents provided to the shareholder. The charge may not exceed the estimated cost of production, reproduction, transmission or delivery of the records.
(d) The corporation may comply at its expense, with a shareholder's demand to inspect the record of shareholders under clause (3) of subsection (b) of section 16.02 by providing the shareholder with a list of shareholders that was compiled no earlier than the date of the shareholder's demand.
(e) The corporation may impose reasonable restrictions on the use or distribution of records by the demanding shareholder.
§ 16.04. Court-Ordered Inspection (a) If a corporation does not allow a shareholder who complies with section 16.02(a) to inspect and copy any records required by that subsection to be available for inspection, the superior court of the county where the corporation's principal office or, if none in the commonwealth, its registered office is located may summarily order inspection and copying of the records demanded at the corporation's expense upon application of the shareholder.
(b) If a corporation does not within a reasonable time allow a shareholder to inspect and copy any other record, the shareholder who complies with subsections (b) and (c) of section 16.02 may apply to the superior court in the county where the corporation's principal office or, if none in the commonwealth, its registered office is located for an order to permit inspection and copying of the records demanded. The court shall dispose of an application under this subsection on an expedited basis.
(c) If the court orders inspection and copying of the records demanded under section 16.02, it shall also order the corporation to pay the shareholder's costs, including reasonable counsel fees, incurred to obtain the order unless the corporation proves that it refused inspection in good faith because it had a reasonable basis for doubt about the right of the shareholder to inspect the records demanded; and the court may order the corporation to pay the shareholder's costs if it orders inspection and copying of records other than under section 16.02.
(d) If the court orders inspection and copying of the records demanded, it may impose reasonable restrictions on the use or distribution of the records by the demanding shareholder.
§ 16.05. Inspection of Records by Directors (a) A director of a corporation is entitled to inspect and copy the books, records and documents of the corporation at any reasonable time to the extent reasonably related to the performance of the director's duties as a director, including duties as a member of a committee, but not for any other purpose or in any manner that would violate any duty to the corporation.
(b) If a corporation does not allow a director who purports to be entitled thereto pursuant to subsection (a) of section 16.05 to inspect and copy any books, records or documents required by that subsection to be available for inspection, the superior court of the county where the corporation's principal office or, if none in the commonwealth, its registered office is located may order inspection and copying of the books, records and documents demanded at the corporation's expense upon application of the director, unless the corporation establishes that the director is not entitled to such inspection rights. The court shall dispose of an application under this subsection on an expedited basis.
(c) If the court orders inspection and copying of the books, records and documents demanded, it may include provisions protecting the corporation from undue burden or expense, and prohibiting the director from using information obtained upon exercise of the inspection rights in a manner that would violate a duty to the corporation, and may also order the corporation to pay the director's costs, including reasonable counsel fees, incurred in connection with the application.
§ 16.06. Exception to Notice Requirement; Consequences of Inability to Deliver Notice (a) Whenever notice is required to be given under any provision of this chapter to any shareholder, the notice shall not be required to be given if:
(1) notice of 2 consecutive annual meetings, and all notices of meetings during the period between the 2 consecutive annual meetings, have been sent to the shareholder at the shareholder's address as shown on the records of the corporation and have been returned undeliverable; or
(2) all, but not less than 2, payments of dividends on securities during a 12-month period, or 2 consecutive payments of dividends on securities during a period of more than 12 months, have been sent to the shareholder at the shareholder's address as shown on the records of the corporation and have been returned undeliverable.
(b) If the shareholder shall deliver to the corporation a written notice setting forth the shareholder's then-current address, the requirement that notice be given to the shareholder shall be reinstated.
(c) If the corporation is unable to deliver notice to any shareholder to an address furnished by the shareholder for the purpose and the inability becomes known to the secretary or an assistant secretary of the corporation, the transfer agent or other person responsible for the giving of notice, the corporation shall take such action as shall be reasonable in the circumstances to inform the shareholder of the inability and to request the shareholder to furnish a new address for the receipt of notices. Attempting to contact the shareholder at such other address, if any, as the corporation may have for the shareholder is deemed reasonable. The corporation may continue to rely on the address last furnished by the shareholder for notice until it is furnished in writing a new address for notice. The failure of the corporation to take the action required by this subsection shall not invalidate any meeting or other action.
PART B. REPORTS
§ 16.20. Financial Statements for Shareholders (a) A corporation shall furnish to its shareholders upon request annual financial statements, which may be consolidated or combined statements of the corporation and 1 or more of its subsidiaries, as appropriate, that include a balance sheet as at the end of the fiscal year, an income statement for that year and, if available, a statement of changes in shareholder equity for that year unless that information appears elsewhere in, the financial statements. If prepared by the corporation, the corporation shall also furnish a statement of cash flows for that year. If financial statements are prepared by the corporation on the basis of generally accepted accounting principles, the annual financial statements must also be prepared on that basis. For purposes of this subsection, financial statements may consist of copies of federal tax returns or other comparable information which is reasonable under the circumstances in the case where the corporation does not prepare financial statements as described above.
(b) If the annual financial statements are reported upon by a public accountant, his report shall accompany those statements. If not, those statements shall be accompanied by a certificate of the president or the person responsible for the corporation's accounting records:
(1) stating his reasonable belief whether the statements were prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles or, if not, describing the basis of preparation; and
(2) describing any respects in which the statements were not prepared on a basis of accounting consistent with the statements prepared for the preceding year.
(c) A corporation shall deliver the annual financial statements, or a written notice of their availability, to each shareholder before the earlier to occur of the annual meeting of shareholders or 120 days after the close of the fiscal year. Thereafter, the corporation shall deliver its most recent financial statements upon the written request of any shareholder to whom the statements were not delivered.
(d) A corporation shall not be required to furnish its annual financial statements to a shareholder if it can demonstrate a proper corporate purpose for withholding information contained in those statements from that shareholder.
§ 16.21. By-Law Amendments If the board of directors of a corporation makes, amends or repeals any bylaw, the corporation shall report in writing the substance of the change to the shareholders entitled to vote on amending the bylaws, with or before the notice of the next shareholders meeting. Any bylaw adopted by the board of directors may be amended or repealed by the shareholders.
§ 16.22. Annual Report for Secretary of State (a) Each domestic corporation, and each foreign corporation authorized to transact business in the commonwealth, shall deliver to the secretary of state for filing an annual report that sets forth:
(1) the name of the corporation and the state or country under whose law it is incorporated;
(2) the address of its registered office and the name of its registered agent at that office in the commonwealth;
(3) the address of its principal office;
(4) the names and business addresses of its directors, officers required by section 8.40(a), and chief executive officer and chief financial officer, if different;
(5) A brief description of its activities in the commonwealth;
(6) the total number of authorized shares, itemized by class and series, if any, within each class;
(b) Information in the annual report shall be current as of the date the annual report is executed on behalf of the corporation.
(c) The annual report shall be delivered to the secretary of state within 2 1/2 months after the end of the fiscal year of the corporation.
ARTICLE 17 TRANSITION PROVISIONS
§ 17.01. Application to Existing Domestic Corporations Except so far as such application may be inconsistent with (i) provisions still in force of any special acts of incorporation, enacted before March 11, 1831, and not subject to amendment, alteration or repeal by the general court, or (ii) chapter 156A applicable to professional corporations incorporated thereunder, this chapter shall apply to:
(1) all domestic corporations having capital stock whether established before or after the effective date of this chapter, either by general or special law, for the purpose of carrying on business for profit except corporations organized for the purpose of carrying on the business of a bank, savings bank, co-operative bank, trust company, credit union, surety or indemnity company, or safe deposit company, or for the purpose of carrying on within the commonwealth the business of an insurance company, railroad, electric railroad, street railway or trolley motor company, telegraph or telephone company, gas or electric light, heat or power company, canal, aqueduct or water company, cemetery or crematory company, any other corporations which on October 1, 1965 have or may thereafter have the right to take land within the commonwealth by eminent domain or to exercise franchises in public ways granted by the commonwealth or by any county, city or town, and corporations subject to chapter 157 and corporations subject to chapter 157A; and
(2) notwithstanding anything to the contrary in clause (1), all other corporations to which this chapter is made applicable by the express provisions of any other general or special law to the extent provided thereby.
§ 17.02. Application to Qualified Foreign Corporations A foreign corporation authorized to transact business in the commonwealth on the effective date of this chapter is subject to this chapter but is not required to apply for new authority to transact business under this chapter.
§ 17.03. Saving Provisions (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), the repeal of chapter 181 shall not affect:
(1) the operation of said chapter 181 or any action taken under it before its repeal;
(2) any ratification, right, remedy, privilege, obligation, or liability acquired, accrued, or incurred under said chapter 181 before its repeal;
(3) any violation of said chapter 181, or any penalty, forfeiture, or punishment incurred because of the violation, before its repeal; or
(4) any proceeding commenced under said chapter 181 before its repeal, and the proceeding may be completed in accordance with said chapter 181 as if it had not been repealed.
(b) If a penalty or punishment imposed for a violation of said chapter 181 is reduced by chapter 156D, the penalty or punishment if not already imposed shall be imposed in accordance with this chapter.
§ 17.04. Severability If any provision of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of the chapter are severable.