If you’re a director of an Australian registered body, or a director of a foreign company registered with ASIC and carrying on business in Australia (regardless of where you live), or you wish to become a director in the future, you’re going to need a DIN. (This excludes defacto or shadow directors or company secretaries).
Good news is a Director Identification Number (DIN) is a unique and permanent identifier that you need to apply for only once and keep permanently.A director ID follows the director even if they stop being a company director, change their name or move interstate or overseas. It confirms a director’s identity and will in the future show which companies they’re linked to.
By 30 November 2022, all directors of Australian companies will be required to have a DIN for the purpose of promoting good corporate conduct and for increased accountability, in addition to tackling any illegal phoenixing arrangements. It’s also proposed that the introduction of DIN’s for all directors will enable the Government to trace Directors over time and prevent the use of false or fraudulent Director identities. Tracking directors and their history through a unique number should also reduce time and costs for administrators and liquidators, improving the insolvency process.
When is the deadline?
- If you were a director either on or before 31 October 2021, you must apply for your DIN by 30 November 2022.
- If you became a director after 1 November 2022 you must apply for your DIN within 28 days of appointment.
- From 5 April 2022, you will need to apply for your DIN before being appointed Director (you can apply up to 12 months prior to your appointment).
It is free to apply and the fastest way to apply is online via the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) website. ABRS is a new service, managed by the ATO that will streamline how you register, view and maintain your business information with government moving forward. It is part of the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program and the first service to be delivered. The ABRS does offer other options for those who are unable to apply online.
For Australian directors to receive your DIN, you must first apply online via the myGov ID app using the following steps:
- Set up myGovID: Please note that myGovID (an app that can be downloaded to your smart device, and provides access to government online services including myGov) is different to myGov (an account that links services such as the ATO, Centrelink and Medicare).
- Gather identification documents: This should include your tax file number, residential address (as held by the ATO) and two of the following identity verification documents:
- Bank account details
- ATO notice of assessment
- Super account details
- Dividend statement
- Centrelink payment summary
- PAYG payment summary
Once this information is verified, the online application is intuitive and takes less than 5 minutes and you will get your director ID instantly.
- Complete your Director ID application – once your identity is verified in myGovID, you can then complete your Director ID application online via the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) website.
For foreign directors, you will need to lodge a paper application (see ABRS website for details) and provide:
- A certified copy of one primary document, such as a foreign birth certificate or foreign passport, and
- A certified copy of one secondary document, such as a national photo ID or driver’s license.
Your documents must be certified by Notary publics or staff at your nearest Australian embassy, high commission, or consulate, including consulates headed by Austrade honorary consuls.
When you receive your director ID, you need to give it to your corporation record-holder. This could be your company secretary, another director, contact person or an authorised agent of the company, as well as your tax or ASIC agent. Legislation provides for serious civil and criminal penalties for those directors that fail to apply for a DIN or provide misleading information in their application.
The DIN was announced as part of the 2020 Federal Budget’s Modernising Business Registers Program and is legislated by the Treasury Laws Amendment (Registries Modernisation and Other Measures) Act 2020 (Cth) (the Act), which received assent on 30 June 2020. The MBR Program will unify the Australian Business Register (ABR) and business registers administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) onto a single platform, administered by the Commonwealth Registrar (the Registrar). This will occur as a separate statutory function of the Australian Taxation Office.