Director IDs: Who needs to apply and when?

The deadline for directors to apply for a Director Identification Number (DIN) is fast approaching. So who does, and who doesn’t, need to apply for a director ID and what do you need to do to get ready?

Board directors appointed on or before 31 October 2021 have until 30 November 2022 to apply for a Director ID. Anyone intending to become a director cannot be officially appointed until they apply.

Recap - what is a Director ID?

In November 2021, the government introduced the Director Identification Numbers (DINs) initiative under the enabling legislation of the Modernising Business Registers program.

A DIN is a 15-digit identifier issued to a current or prospective director after they have verified their identity with the Australian Business Registry Service (ABRS). Once issued, a director will retain their DIN for life, regardless of whether they change companies, cease to act, change their name or move interstate or overseas.

DINs are designed to improve transparency and accountability of directors – being able to trace a director’s company relationships will make it harder to engage in unlawful activities such as phoenixing, where a company is wound up or abandoned to avoid paying its debts, and a new company is created to continue its business without the debt.

Who needs a DIN?

You need a director ID if you're a director of either a:

  • Company (Pty Ltd, Limited or Unlimited)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation
  • corporate trustee, for example, of a self-managed super fund
  • charity or not-for-profit organisation that is a company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation
  • registered Australian body, for example, an incorporated association that is registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and trades outside the state or territory in which it is incorporated
  • foreign company registered with ASIC and carrying on business in Australia (regardless of where you live).

If your organisation has an Australian business number (ABN), you can use ABN Lookup to find out if it is registered with ASIC as a:

  • company, which will have an Australian company number (ACN)
  • registered Australian body, which will have an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN)
  • registered foreign company, which will have an ARBN.

The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) maintains a register of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations. These corporations have an Indigenous Corporation Number (ICN) and may also have an ABN.

You don't need a director ID if you're either:

  • a company secretary but not a director
  • acting as an external administrator of a company
  • running a business as a sole trader or partnership
  • referred to as a ‘director’ in your job title but have not been appointed as a director under the Corporations Act or the CATSI Act
  • a director of a registered charity with an organisation type that is not registered with ASIC or ORIC to operate throughout Australia
  • an officer of an unincorporated association, cooperative or incorporated association established under state or territory legislation, unless the organisation is also a registered Australian body.

If you’re unsure whether you’re a company director or who the directors of an entity may be, you can search:

As long as the entity maintains their details as required, any directors listed through these searches (and any directors appointed in future) will be required to obtain a director ID.

For more details and clarification head to the Australian Business Registry Services website HERE.

When do I need to register?

When people must apply for their director ID depends on when they first become a director.  For directors of companies regulated by ASIC and registered under the Corporations Act 2001:

  • Intending new directors must apply before being appointed.
  • Directors appointed on or before 31 October 2021 have until 30 November 2022 to apply.
  • New directors appointed for the first time between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022 had 28 days from their appointment to apply.

Directors of companies regulated by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations and registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 have a different time frame in which to apply.

  • For CATSI directors appointed on or before 31 October 2022, you must apply by 30 November 2023. Those appointed from 1 November 2022 must apply before their appointment.

How can I get ready to register?

The quickest way to register will be online with the ABRS using myGovID. You can prepare early by setting up your myGovID (which is an app that lets you prove who you are and log in to a range of online government services, including myGov). You’ll then need to have supporting documentation to assist the Australian Taxation Office in verifying your identity.

You’ll also be able to apply by phone or using paper forms. It is free to apply, but you must apply directly – no one can apply on your behalf.

What happens once I register?

Once registered, you’ll be able to share your DIN with your company secretary or agent and use it to update your details and monitor actions in progress and past activities. At this stage, DINS will not be publicly searchable.

ASIC will not manage the application or administrations of DINs – this responsibility will sit with ABRS. ASIC will, however, be responsible for the enforcement in the event of non-compliance.

Don't forget your Director IDs by Dr Kath Hall
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