In November 2021, the federal government introduced the Director Identification Numbers (DINs) initiative under the enabling legislation of the Modernising Business Registers program.
Since then, all directors regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and registered under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) have been required by law to obtain a DIN via the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) within the prescribed timeframes. You can read more about the specifics of the DIN regime here.
Relevantly, all existing directors appointed on or before 31 October 2021 have until 30 November 2022 to apply. Anyone intending to become a director cannot be appointed until they apply.
While the application process is fairly straightforward – the system is not perfect and has caused delays in the past. In this article, we remind those who are yet to apply that the deadline is fast approaching and how to get ready.
What is a DIN?
A DIN is a 15-digit identifier that is assigned to a current or prospective director after their identity has been verified with the ABRS. Each DIN starts with 036, followed by eleven digits that make up the unique number and one ‘check’ for error detection.
Once a DIN is issued, it is recorded in the ABRS database and retained by the director for life. This means that only one application per director is required regardless of how many appointments are held.
Who needs one?
You will need a DIN if you’re an eligible officer of either:
- a company, a registered Australian body, a registered foreign body under the Corporations Act; or
- an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth).
An eligible officer is anyone appointed as a director or acting as an alternate director.
You don’t need a DIN if, for example, you’re a company secretary, acting as an external administrator or running a business as a sole trader or partnership.
Intending new directors
As it is after 5 April 2022, if you intend to become a new director, you must apply before you can be appointed. For example, if you’re incorporating a new company, you’ll have to wait until after the prospective director applies for their DIN to appoint them.
Reminder: What are the application requirements and timeframes?
There are three ways to complete your application:
- online with the ABRS using myGovID; or
- by phone; or
- by paper forms.
The quickest way to start an application is online (read our recap here to find out more and what happens once you register).
To apply by phone, you will need:
- your tax file number (this is optional but it speeds up the process)
- your residential address as held by the ATO
- answers to two questions based on details the ABRS knows about you
- two Australian identity documents – one primary and one secondary.
To apply by paper, directors residing within Australia should phone the ABRS. In addition to providing the information requested on the application form, you will also need to provide certified copies of:
- one primary and two secondary identity documents; or
- two primary and one secondary identity document.
For directors residing outside Australia, the documents you need to provide differ slightly. In this case, the requirement is:
- one primary and one secondary identity document; or
- two primary identity documents.
More information about the eligibility requirements and how to complete your application can be found on the ABRS’ website here and here.
What can happen if you miss the deadline?
It is a criminal and civil offence if you do not apply on time. Directors that non-comply with the deadline could face enforcement action from ASIC and fines of up to $13,200 (criminal) and $1,100,000 (civil).
If you can’t apply by the deadline, you can request for an extension by completing this form. If you intend to apply for an extension, ensure you provide the required supporting documentation to reduce delays in the ABRS considering your application.
If you have any questions or need assistance with your application contact Holding Redlich HERE
This article was first published on 24 August 2022 HERE.
The information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.