As contemplated in our article New Identification Process for all Australian Company Directors published in July 2020, the time for directors to obtain a Director Identification Number has arrived.
From 1 November 2021 company directors must obtain a Director Identification Number (DIN) from Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS).
A person will hold one DIN for all of their directorships and that same DIN will remain in place if the person ceases to be a director, changes their name or moves abroad.
The purpose of the DIN regime is to verify the identity of directors allowing for better traceability of a director's relationships across companies and making it harder for directors to disassociate themselves with failed companies and to undertake illegal phoenix activity (when the assets of a failing company are transferred to third parties without consideration to avoid paying existing liabilities).
Who needs to apply for a DIN?
- Directors, and
- alternate directors who are acting in that capacity,
of a company, registered Australian body or registered foreign body under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) or a corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth) (CATSI Act).
This includes directors who are residing outside of Australia.
A person must apply for their own DIN, it cannot be done by someone on their behalf.
Directors must apply for their DIN within the following timeframes
- on or before 31 October 2021 have until 30 November 2022 to apply for a DIN;
- between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022 have 28 days from their date of appointment to apply for a DIN, and
- from 5 April 2022 must apply for a DIN prior to their appointment.
CATSI Act directors have different timeframes.
It is possible to apply for a DIN up to 12 months in advance of a person's appointment as a director.
Application process and documentation
A person can apply for a DIN with ABRS here.
Applicants need to download the myGovID application linked on the above site (different to myGov online) and verify their identify by submitting the details of at least two Australian Government documents including their passport, driver's license, Medicare card or residential visa.
Applicants will then continue the application process online and must submit their:
- tax file number;
- residential address as held by the ATO;
- two additional documents to verify their identity from the following list: bank account details, ATO notice of assessment, superannuation account details, dividend statement, Centrelink payment summary or PAYG payment summary.
If an applicant lives outside of Australia or cannot get a myGovID then they will need to apply for a DIN with a paper form and provide certified copies of their identification documents.
It is an offence for a person:
- not to apply for a DIN within the applicable timeframe;
- apply for a DIN when directed to do so by ABRS;
- to apply for more than one DIN;
- misrepresent their DIN to a Commonwealth body, company or registered body;
- give false or misleading information when applying for their DIN, or
- being involved in any of the above activities.
If a person commits any of the above offences they may:
- be issued with an infringement notice, and
- face civil or criminal penalties (the maximum penalties under the Corporations Act for the above listed offences are 60 penalty units ($13,320) and 1 year imprisonment.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.