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18 Mar 2021 Legislation

Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 1) Bill 2021

The Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No 1) Bill 2021 has been referred to the Senate Economics References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 June 2021.

Virtual meetings and electronic communication of documents

Schedule 1 to the Bill makes temporary amendments to the rules relating to meetings of directors, shareholders of companies and members of registered schemes to facilitate the use of electronic technology. The new rules allow meetings to be held virtually, provided that the members as a whole have a reasonable opportunity to participate. They also allow documents relating to the meetings to be provided and signed electronically and minutes to be kept electronically.

Amendments are also made to allow the electronic execution of company documents. Documents executed without a company seal may be signed electronically and the signatories do not need to sign

the same copy. Documents executed with a seal may also be executed electronically and the witness may use alternative technology to observe the fixing of the seal.

These amendments have effect until 16 September 2021.

Continuous disclosure obligations

Schedule 2 to the Bill provides that all civil penalty proceedings commenced under the continuous disclosure and misleading and deceptive conduct provisions must prove that an entity or officer acted with ‘knowledge, recklessness or negligence’ in respect of an alleged contravention.

Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 2) Bill 2021

The Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 2) Bill 2021 was introduced into the House of Representatives on 17 March 2021. The Bill will implement previously announced changes to the deductible gift recipients (DGR) and Offshore Banking Until (OBU) rules.

Deductible gift receipts (DGR)

Schedule 1 amends the ITAA 1997 to require a fund, authority or institution to, as a precondition for DGR endorsement, be:

  • a registered charity;
  • an Australian government agency; or
  • operated by a registered charity or an Australian government agency.

Offshore banking units (OBU)

Schedule 2 to the Bill amends Australia’s OBU regime to:

  • remove the concessional tax treatment for OBUs;
  • remove the interest withholding tax exemption; and
  • close the regime to new entrants by removing the Minister’s ability to declare or determine an entity to be an OBU.
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