From 1 November 2021, all directors of Australian registered bodies corporate are required to apply for a director identification number (DIN). The DIN regime, administered by the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) and managed by the Australian Taxation Office, has been introduced in order to prevent illegal phoenix activity, track directors’ involvement across different companies and prevent the use of false or fraudulent director identities. DINs are unique 15-digit identifiers assigned to directors for life, and involve a free, once-off application.
Who must obtain a DIN?
All directors and alternate directors of:
- companies, registered Australian bodies and registered foreign companies under the Corporations Act 2001, and
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) (CATSI) Act 2006
must obtain a DIN. Directors themselves must apply for their own DIN to verify their identity.
Company secretaries, external administers, sole traders, partners in a partnership and directors of unregistered bodies do not need a DIN.
When are the deadlines?
There are different deadlines for applying for a DIN, depending on a director’s appointment date. Existing company directors (appointed before 31 October 2021), have until 30 November 2022 to apply for a DIN. Directors who are appointed between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022 have 28 days within their appointment to apply. All directors appointed after 4 April 2022 are required to apply for a DIN before their appointment. There are different time frames for CATSI Act directors.
How do directors apply?
Directors can apply for a DIN using their myGovID through the myGov website. A tax file number, residential address and two documents to verify identity are required for the short process. Alternatively, applications can also be made via phone or paper form. Note that foreign directors can only apply for a DIN through the paper form.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
Failure to apply within the required time frames can result in an infringement notice and civil or criminal penalties. Other offences also include applying for multiple DINs and providing false DINs to a Commonwealth body, company or registered body.
More information on the DIN regime can be found at the ABRS website.
Further information provided by our team regarding a previous reform to combat illegal phoenix activity is available here.
This article was written by Principal Mark Fitzgerald and Law Graduate Meg Ryan. For advice or information about your obligations as a Director, please contact Mark Fitzgerald.