Corporate electronic document signing extended – with some confusion

The much anticipated extension to the electronic signing arrangements for corporations has been clarified by the Treasurer… but not without some confusion.

The temporary relief for corporations improved the ability of business to sign and witness crucial documents electronically and conduct meetings, as a result of the dramatic impacts COVID-19 had on the economic and financial environment in Australia.

On 31 July Treasurer Frydenberg announced that the Federal Government was “extending temporary regulatory relief in respect of online meetings and electronic document execution for a further six months”.

He said the current arrangements would be extended for another six months with an expiry of 21 March 2021.

However, the original relief provided by the Corporations (Coronavirus Economic Response) Determination (No.1) 2020 commenced on 5 May 2020 and was to cease automatically six months later on 5 November 2020.

When asked to confirm either 5 May 2021 or 21 March 2021 as the new end date, a Treasury spokesperson told QLSProctor, “the Treasurer’s intention is that a new instrument will be issued for a period of six months from the date of issue, with an expiry date of 21 March 2021”.

The new relief determination is now expected to be made on 21 September 2020.

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