Documentation, Regulation

Digital signature relief extended again

electronic documents relief

The government has announced an extension of the temporary COVID-19 relief measure allowing companies to use electronic communication for documents.

The federal government will extend the COVID-19 temporary relief measure for companies to continue using electronic documents to ensure regulatory requirements are met until 31 March 2022.

Following the instability of the coronavirus pandemic, the government will extend the measure allowing companies to hold virtual meetings and use electronic communication to send meeting materials and execute documents, including those used by SMSFs, such as trust deeds.

The measure was first introduced by Treasurer Josh Frydenburg on 5 May 2020 and has since been extended on multiple occasions – with the most-recent extension being until 15 September – as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The move will also give permanent powers to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to now provide individual or class order relief in regards to meetings and sending documents in circumstances beyond a company’s control, including those resulting from the pandemic.

The government is also planning to introduce permanent reforms later this year in an effort to provide companies with the flexibility to use technology to sign and send documents, and hold meetings, including hybrid meetings.

The COVID-19 relief measure is a temporary alteration to section 127 of the Corporations Act 2001, which outlines a company’s limitations in executing documents and deeds.

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