What to Know about Director Identification Numbers

The Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) is part of a new ‘Modernising Business Registers’ program being rolled out by the Australian Taxation Office. One of the principal features of this program is the requirement for Director Identification Numbers. Directors of companies, registered foreign companies, registered Australian bodies, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations will all be required to obtain a Director Identification Number by 30 November 2022.

What is a Director Identification Number?

The Director Identification Number is a unique number that directors will maintain forever. Because of the requirement for identity verification, directors will need to personally apply for the Director Identification Number. This will not only confirm the identity of directors, but show which companies directors are linked to. However, it will not be accessible to the public without the director’s consent. It can only be disclosed to government bodies, courts, and tribunals.

When should directors apply for a Director Identification Number?

Directors under the Corporations Act 2001 who are appointed by 31 October 2021 do not have to apply for a Director Identification Number until 30 November 2022. However, directors appointed after 1 November 2021 will be subject to different time periods. For those appointed between 1 November 2022 and 4 April 2022, applications for Director Identification Numbers must be received within 28 days of appointed. From 5 April 2022, directors will be required to hold a Director Identification Number prior to their appointment.

Directors of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation who are appointed by 31 October 2022 must apply for a Director Identification Number by 30 November 2023. However, for those that become a Director from 1 November 2022, a Director Identification Number must be held prior to appointment.

How do directors apply for a Director Identification Number?

Directors will need to create a myGovID number. myGovID is a different platform than myGov, which many Australians are familiar with and regularly utilise for ATO, Medicare, and other services. While myGovID is an app that will allow you to access myGov, it also provides proof of identification.

Directors will then need to gather certain documentation, including:

  • their tax file number (TFN)
  • their residential address as held by the ATO
  • information from two documents to verify their identity.

Examples of the documents directors can use to verify their identity include:

  • bank account details
  • an ATO notice of assessment
  • super account details
  • a dividend statement
  • a Centrelink payment summary
  • PAYG payment summary.

Once directors have created a myGovID and have gathered the above listed documents, the application should only take approximately five minutes to complete on the ABRS website.

For those that are unable to create a myGovID, there are options to complete the application process by phone or by paper.

What should directors be aware of?

The Director Identification Number is administered by the ABRS. Directors will apply for a Director Identification Number and update their details as required through the ABRS. Once a director has obtained an Identification Number, the director will be required to provide that information to their company through an authorised agent, such as a company secretary, or to the record-keepers of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation.

Directors within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 must notify their respective companies of any updates to personal details within 7 days, and the company itself must provide ASIC with the new details within 28 days.

Directors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations must notify their corporation of any changes to their personal details within 14 days. The corporation must then notify the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations within 28 days.

Directors have obligations to comply with the Director Identification Number process, including applying within the relevant timeframe or when directed by the Registrar. If these obligations are not met, directors may face civil and/or criminal penalties of up to $1.1 million and imprisonment.

If you are a director of a company or are considering directorship and have questions about meeting your reporting obligations, speak with one of our experienced business lawyers by calling us at (02) 4929 7002, emailing us or completing an enquiry form.