If you are a Director of a company in Australia, you must apply for a Director Identification Number (DIN) through the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS).
What is a Director Identification Number?
A DIN is a unique identifier that a company director will apply for once and keep forever, even if they cease to be a director, change their name, or move interstate or overseas. A DIN will assist in confirming your identity, and will in future show which companies you are currently, and have previously been, linked to.
The new DIN requirements apply to appointed Directors and acting Directors of Australian corporations and registered foreign companies under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). This includes companies responsible for managed investments schemes and registered charities. Currently, the requirements do not extend to unincorporated bodies and defacto or shadow Directors or Company Secretaries.
DIN’s are administered by the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) which is managed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
The DIN regime is intended to help address illegal pheonixing activities by increasing Director accountability and traceability.
Will my Director Identification Number be private?
Your DIN can only be disclosed to you, or to:
- someone you give the ABRS permission to disclose to,
- certain Commonwealth, State and Territory government bodies, or
- courts and tribunals.
A DIN isn’t governed by the same rules or laws that apply to a Tax File Number (TFN). An authorised agent or company secretary must ensure that information about a company and its officeholders is:
- handled according to their legal obligations, and
- securely stored.
The law doesn’t authorise the disclosure of director IDs to the public without the director’s consent. For now, your director ID will not be searchable by the public. The Registrar will consult the community about what details can be disclosed and searched in the future.
Should I have already applied for my Director Identification Number?
The DIN regime commenced as of November 1st, 2021, and many Directors have already taken action. However, if you have not applied for your DIN, you will need to submit your application in line with the following:
- If you are a new Director who was appointed after April 5th, 2022, you are required to apply for your DIN prior to your appointment with a company.
- If you were an existing Director prior to the DIN regime, you have until November 30th, 2022 to apply for your DIN.
Whilst there is still time before this due date, it is important to beat the rush and apply immediately. It is equally essential that those impacted comply with this regime, as non-compliance may result in civil and/or criminal penalties.
What action do I take after receiving my Director Identification Number?
When you receive your director ID, you need to pass it on to the record-holder in your company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation. This might be:
- your company secretary,
- another director, or
- a contact person or an authorised agent of the company (for your company, this may be Davidsons).
If you’re appointed as a director of any other companies or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations in the future, you need to give your director ID to the relevant record-holders.
There is no requirement to provide your director ID to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The ATO is responsible for delivering the director ID service through ABRS, while ASIC is responsible for enforcing related offences.
How do I apply for my Director Identification Number?
Given DIN’s are a personal identification number, individuals must apply for a DIN themselves. There are three ways that applications can be made:
- Via your myGovID with approved identity documentation;
- Over the phone with your tax file number (optional) and address details along with answering questions and provision of identify documentation;
- Paper application with certified identity documentation.
There are a number of resources to assist you in the application process, which you can access below:
- Download our DIN Fact Sheet
- ATO Video ‘How to apply for a Director ID’
- ABRS Guide to Applying for your DIN
Contact us for further assistance
If you are one of our clients and impacted by this regime and would like further assistance with the application process, please get in touch with our team. However, if you are not a client of ours and would like any assistance, we are more than happy to help. To get in touch, contact our offices on (03) 5221 6399 or at email@example.com.
This article was written by ASIC Administrator Cheryl Mirkovic.
Disclaimer: This information is of a general nature and should not be viewed as representing financial advice. Users of this information are encouraged to seek further advice if they are unclear as to the meaning of anything contained in this article. Davidsons accepts no responsibility for any loss suffered as a result of any party using or relying on this article.