Article by Suzie Leask
From 21 November 2021 all company directors must verify their identity with Australian Business Registry Services. Directors will be provided with a unique Director Identifier Number (DIN) and, once issued, will keep that number forever. Directors must apply themselves. No one can apply on your behalf (not even your authorised agent). You must only apply for a single DIN. It is an offence to apply for multiple DINs.
What is a DIN?
It is a 15 digit identifier which allows directors to be identified on public registers by their DIN rather than by way of personal information such as full name, DOB and address. The DIN will also be used to trace relationships to companies. The DIN will allow regulators to identify and track illegal phoenixing activity and to track directors of failed companies who use fictitious identities.
Why must you comply?
As part of its Digital Business Plan, the government announced the full implementation of the Modernising Business Registers program. This program will establish the new Australian Business Registry Services and streamline how you register, view and maintain your business information with government.
The legislation, known as the Commonwealth Registers Act 2019, will be administered by a registrar (which will be 'an existing Commonwealth body' appointed by the minister). It gives the registrar power to administer the new requirements, including the issuance and cancellation of DINs, extending application periods, issuing infringement notices, establishing identity verification requirements, and maintaining records.
The requirement to hold a DIN applies to directors (and alternate directors) if their organisation is a company, registered foreign company, registered Australian body or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation.
When must you comply?
Corporations Act Directors:
|On or before 31 October 2021 (existing and new directors)
||By 30 November 2022
|Between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022
||Within 28 days of appointment
|From 5 April 2022
||Prior to appointment
CATSI Act Directors (Corporations (Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander) Act 2006):
On or before 31 October 2021 (existing and new directors)
By 30 November 2022
From 1 November 2022
Prior to appointment
The director ID application will be available from November 2021 at https://www.abrs.gov.au/. You will need a myGovID to apply for the DIN online. This is not the same as a myGov account. This link will assist you https://www.mygovid.gov.au/set-up.
How do you get a DIN?
TIP: The information you should have handy is:
Individual Tax File Number (optional)
Residential address (as recorded with the ATO)
Answers to 2 questions, where details are known by the ATO, such as:
- Bank account details
- Super account details
- A dividend statement
- PAYG payment summary
- An ATO notice of assessment
- A Centrelink payment summary.
If you are not able to get a myGovID you can apply by phone (you will need your Tax File Number) or by completing a paper form. If you opt for the paper form approach or you are a non-resident director you will need to provide certified (and translated if necessary) copies of your identity documents, being one of:
Australian full birth certificate (extracts and commemorative certificates are not acceptable)
Australian passport (including passports that have expired in the past two years)
Australian citizenship certificate or extract from a Register of Citizenship by Descent
Visa (if you are using a foreign passport but you are still in Australia)
together with your Medicare card and Australian Driver Licence or Learner Permit. This must show your photo and signature, and the address on the card must match your details on the form.
If you are a non-resident director, you must apply by way of the paper approach outlined above. If you require documents certified you should contact a Notary Public or the staff at your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.
You must supply correct information. It is an offence to provide false or misleading information.
Once you have your DIN, who should you provide it to?
Your company’s record holder who is usually the company secretary, another director or even your authorised agent (if you have one). You must keep the information up to date.
What happens if you don't comply?
Criminal and civil penalties apply and many attract personal liabilities for directors. The maximum penalties are 60 penalty units ($13,320 at the current penalty unit rate of $222) and 1 year imprisonment.
What if I have questions or need help?
Feel free to contact us at email@example.com. We are across the new requirements and can assist you with compliance.