electronic digital signature

The Malta Tax & Customs Administration (MTCA) has started accepting documentation in a soft copy format, digitally signed with a qualified electronic signature.

Taking effect on 21st August, the move is expected to “make life easier” for corporate service providers and tax practitioners, according to Binderr director Nicky Gouder.

“This will boost their efficiency and trim unnecessary costs and delays,” he says.

“No longer will we need to deal with the hassle of obtaining wet ink signatures, sending documents worldwide via couriers, or making in-person visits to file paperwork.”

Mr Gouder adds that the change will have a significant effect on Malta’s financial services and corporate services industry: “It promises a smoother experience for foreign clients who have companies in Malta. They’ll now be able to sign documents with a simple click, eliminating the need to print, sign with wet ink, and send via courier.”

The change came about thanks to an update in European Union legislation (Regulation 910/2014, or eIDAS), which specify that a qualified electronic signature has the equivalent legal effect of a handwritten signature.

In an announcement, the MTCA said that documentation is accepted in this format in situations where the document does not relate to a service which is already available online.

The measure does not refer to documentation which requires the signature of the Commissioner for Tax and Customs or their representative, such as agreements for remission of interest and penalties.

“In addition, the Commissioner reserves the right to limit this facility in those circumstances where the said document is required to be furnished to other entities (and where such entities require originally signed wet ink signature),” it said.

To make use of the new measure, signatories must ensure that the documents and signatures follow the provisions as contained in the eIDAS.

Only documents signed using one of the trusted list of qualified trust service providers will be accepted.

Such electronically signed documents submitted to the MTCA can be sent via the various email channels that are available for designated services.

The e-signed document should be accompanied with a validity assurance report generated from this European Commission website.

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