Director identification number: A unique way to i-DIN-tify yourself

Director identification number
You may have heard or read about the new Director identification number (commonly referred to as DIN or Director ID – these terms seem to be quite interchangeable!). So, what exactly is a DIN or Director ID, who needs one and when are you required to apply?

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You may have heard or read about the new Director identification number (commonly referred to as DIN or Director ID – these terms seem to be quite interchangeable!). So, what exactly is a DIN or Director ID, who needs one and when are you required to apply?

Some background

As part of the Digital Business Plan announced in the Federal Budget 2020–21, the Federal Government announced the full implementation of the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) Program. This program unifies the Australian Business Register and 31 business registers administered by ASIC into a single platform and introduces the DIN initiative.

The Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) – a newly established function of the ATO – will administer the platform and deliver its initiatives.

What is the purpose of DINs?

DINs are intended to prevent the use of false and fraudulent director identities, and make it easier for external administrators and regulators to trace directors’ relationships with companies over time.

DINs also help detect and eliminate director involvement in illegal phoenixing activities. Illegal phoenixing activity is when a company is liquidated, wound up or abandoned to avoid paying its debts. A new company is then started to continue the same business activities without the debt.

What is a DIN?

A DIN is a unique 15-digit identifier given to a director who has verified their identity with the ABRS.

If you are a director, here are some things to note:

§  You need to apply for your own DIN;

§  It is free to apply and you will only need to apply once;

§  You will have your DIN for life, even if you change companies, stop being a director or move countries.

Who needs a DIN?

You will need a DIN if you are a director or an alternate director (acting in that capacity) of:

§  a company, a registered Australian body or a registered foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act). This includes the director of the corporate trustee of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF);

§  an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).

Note! If you are a director, you must apply for your own DIN because you will need to verify your identity. No one else can apply on your behalf.

Who doesn’t need a DIN?

You don’t need a DIN if you are:

§  a company secretary but not a director;

§  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 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.

When and how to apply

You will be able to apply for a DIN from November 2021 on the new ABRS website. The easiest way to apply for a DIN is to do so electronically using the myGovID app (this is different to the myGov app), but telephone and paper alternatives will also be available.

When you must apply for a DIN depends on the date you become (or became) a director.

Corporations Act directors

Date you became a director Date you must apply
On or before 31 October 2021By 30 November 2022
Between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022Within 28 days of appointment
From 5 April 2022Before appointment

CATSI Act directors

Date you became a director Date you must apply
On or before 31 October 2022By 30 November 2023
From 1 November 2022Before appointment

Tip! Although your tax adviser cannot apply for a DIN on your behalf, they can guide you through the process.

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