What legal documentation does my small business need?

Blogs 7 Jul 2020

When running a business, legal documentation is a must. From tax to employment, we take you through some of the important things you need to have in black and white.

No matter how small, all businesses are bound by various laws that you need to be aware of when starting or running a business.

Not only do these laws protect you and your business, there are also legal requirements to protect employees and property.

As a small business, your legal documentation should be regularly reviewed and updated. It covers a wide range of paperwork, such as:

  • Agreements
  • Contracts
  • Forms
  • Letters
  • Notices
  • Policies

We explain which legal documentation you should always have access to.

Employment Law

Whether you have one employee or one hundred, staying organised with employment documentation will help to keep your small business on the right side of the law.

The documentation you require as an employer includes:

This ensures each employee is protected by a statement with certain specified employment terms, which is a legal requirement. It also makes sure you’re able to demonstrate that you have the correct policies in place, covering different aspects of employment law, in the event of an employment tribunal.

Business Law

Business law documentation is vital to protecting your business, products and services. It includes:

  • Companies Housed and/or HMRC papers
  • Data protection documents
  • Tenancy agreements for your premises
  • Details of financial agreements
  • Contracts for goods and services
  • Intellectual property

All documentation that registers your business, covers the tenancy for your premises, details financial agreements or protects intellectual property (where relevant), is key to protecting your business, products and services.

In the event that someone breaches an agreement with you, or if, for example, there is a dispute over property your using, having this type of documentation readily available can be invaluable.


Any information which is provided for tax purposes should be retained for your records. If you’re ever subjected to a tax investigation, having access to paperwork, such as your past records and tax documentation, can make locating and providing the information you’ll need easier.

Examples of the documents you need to keep include:

  • Bank statements
  • Invoices
  • Record of expenses
  • Past tax returns

Health & Safety

Health and safety violations in the UK can see employers being hit with fines. Ensuring you have completed your risk assessments, have a process to log incidents and staff about potential risks can go a long way in protecting your staff and your business.

Examples of documents you may need to keep and regularly update include:

  • Health and safety law poster if you have employees this must be displayed in your premises or given to employees
  • Accident and incident reports
  • Risk assessments (in writing if you have five or more employees)
  • Health and safety policy (in writing if you have more than five employees)

Why your business needs the right legal documentation

Ensuring you have up-to-date and compliant documentation can be a time-consuming task. But, it’s crucial that you have the correct legal documents in place when setting up or running a business to avoid any fines or investigations where possible.

FSB members have unlimited access to over 1,100 legal documents, templates and factsheets through the FSB Legal Hub, which are downloadable and customisable.

Legal compliance is just a click away

With FSB Legal Hub, you’ll have legal documents at your fingertips. Search over 1,300 documents, templates, policies and more, on everything from tax to cyber security. Checked by real lawyers, fully compliant and easy to use.

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