Director Identification Number

A brief summary of new requirements for all Directors of Australian companies, registered Australian bodies, registered foreign companies or Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander corporations.
Australia has recently passed laws that require all Directors of Companies to verify their identity and apply for a Director Identification Number (director ID) in an effort to deal with illegal phoenix activities and eliminate the use of false or fraudulent identities.

What is a director ID?

A director ID is a 15-digit identification number that is issued to an individual director of a company incorporated or registered in Australia. Once issued, it will remain with that director for life, regardless of whether they stop being a director, change companies, change their name or move overseas.

Who needs a director ID?

All directors of companies or registered Australian bodies will need a Director ID. This includes Directors of corporate trustees of self managed super funds (SMSF) or family trusts.

You do not need a director ID if you are running a business as a sole business or partnership, or if you are a named as a Director in your job title but have not been appointed as a director under the Corporations Act or Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander) Act (CATSI).

Timeframes for registration

Applications for a director ID are now open. Existing and new directors will need to apply in accordance with the following dates:

Date of Directorship                                                           Application Date

On or before 31 October 2021                                  By 30 November 2022

Between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022        Within 28 days of appointment

From 5 April 2022                                                       Before appointment

How to apply - Directors residing in Australia

  1. Obtain a myGovID - The ABRS currently recommends that directors apply for a myGovID in preparation for when applications will open. The myGovID will need to be a standard or strong identity strength for the DIN application. If you don’t have a myGovID you can set one up by following the instructions here If you cannot get a myGovID, you can complete the DIN application over the phone or in paper form.

          It should be noted that the myGovID is different from myGov. MyGovID           is an app that you download to a smart device to prove who you are and           log into a range of government services, including myGov.

  1. Prepare Documentation - Required documentation will include:

          • your tax file number (this is optional to provide, however the ABRS             website states that providing this will speed up the process);

          • your residential address as held by the ATO; and

          • if you are completing an online application – information from two             documents to verify your identity, such as bank account details, ATO             notice of assessment, super account details or dividend statement             etc.

  1. Three ways to apply - there are three options for applying for a Director ID:

          • use your myGovID to log on and fill out the application through the             ABRS Website

          • complete the application over the phone – in addition to your tax file              number (optional) and residential address, you will need to answer two              questions based on the details known about you and will need one              primary and one secondary identity document

          • complete a paper application – in addition to the information              requested on the form, you will need to provide certificated copies of             one primary and two secondary identity documents

How to apply - Directors residing outside Australia

Directors who are residing outside of Australia can only make an application via a paper application from November 2021. If making a paper application, the director will need to provide the information requested on the form, together with certified copies of one primary and one secondary identity document. ID documents must be certified by either:

  • A notary public;
  • Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate; or
  • By way of apostille via Competent Authority

Consequences of non-compliance

Directors who fail to meet their Director ID obligations could be issued with an infringement notice or could expose themselves to civil or criminal penalties.  The maximum penalties are 60 penalty units ($13,230 at the current penalty unit rate) and 1 year imprisonment.

Elliott+Webb comments

It is important that steps be undertaken for existing Directors of companies (both Australian and foreign registered) to obtain Directors IDs for each of its Directors as soon as possible.

Whilst there is a grace period for existing Directors, foreign Directors in particular will find the process takes longer than expected, given the application can only be done via paper form and the certification of identification requirements. We recommend allowing at least 6 weeks in order for applications to be processed for foreign Directors.

For all new company incorporations or foreign company registrations, each Director must have a Director ID before the company can be registered.

We can assist with any Australian and Foreign Director ID applications should you require. Please contact us and we can provide more information on the process.

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