Company Directors, please take a number

If you are a director of a company, you need to obtain your unique Director Identification Number by 30 November 2022. New laws came into effect on 1 November 2021, through reforms to Part 9.1A of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Act), which make it mandatory for company directors to apply for individual identification numbers. They create civil and criminal penalties for failure to do so.

What is a Director Identification Number?

A Director Identification Number (DIN) is a 15-digit identifier given to a director or someone who intends to become a director. All DINs will begin with 036 which is the country code for Australia under the international standard, followed by an 11-digit number, followed by one ‘check’ digit for error detection.

Directors will keep one DIN forever, even if they change companies, stop being a director, move interstate or overseas, or change their name.

Why are DINs required?

DINs will assist external administrators and regulators to trace directors’ relationships with companies, prevent use of false or fraudulent director identities, and identify and prosecute director involvement in unlawful activity. DINs will also make it easier for stakeholders to know the names and certain details of the directors of a company, such as shareholders, employees, creditors, external administrators, and regulators.

Will I need one?

You will need to apply for a DIN if you are an eligible officer of a company, registered Australian body, registered foreign company under the Act, or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth).

An eligible officer means a person who is appointed as director or an alternate director who is acting in that capacity.

You do not need a DIN if you fit into the following categories:

  1. A company secretary but not a director;
  2. Acting as external administrator of a company;
  3. Running a business as a sole trader or partnership;
  4. Referred to as ‘director’ in your job title but have not been appointed as director under the relevant legislation;
  5. A director of a registered charity with an organisation type that is not registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to operate throughout Australia; or
  6. 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.

How to apply for a DIN

Applying for a DIN can be done through the myGovID application on a smart device.

You will need to set up myGovID first and it is important to note that this is different from MyGov.

The second step is to gather the documents you will need for your application. These include your Tax File Number, your residential address as held by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), and information from two documents to verify your identity. Examples of documents that may be used to verify your identity include bank account details, ATO notice of assessment, superannuation account details, a dividend statement, a Centrelink payment summary, and/or a PAYG payment summary.

The final step is to complete and submit your application through myGovID. The process is expected to take five minutes or less.

When you need to apply for a DIN

Because DINs are in the roll-out phase, the required time frame to apply for a DIN is dependent on when the applicant became, or is going to become, a director.

If you became a director on or before 31 October 2021, you must apply for a DIN by 30 November 2022.

If you become a director between 1 November 2021 and 4 November 2022, you must apply for a DIN within 28 days of appointment.

From 5 April 2022, you must apply for a DIN before your appointment as a director.

Alternatively, for directors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations, if you became a director on or before 31 October 2022 you must apply by 30 November 2023.

New directors must apply before appointment from 1 November 2022.

What happens if you do not apply?

Directors are obliged to:

  • apply for a DIN within the relevant timeframe or when directed to do so by the registrar of the Australian Business Registry Service (the Registrar)
  • not apply for more than one DIN, and
  • not misrepresent a DIN to a Commonwealth body, company, registered Australian body or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation.

Should directors fail to meet these obligations, there may be civil or criminal penalties including infringement notices.

Failure to have a DIN, when required to do so, or failing to apply for a DIN, when directed to do so by the Registrar, attracts a maximum criminal penalty of $13,200 and/or a maximum civil penalty of $1,100,000.

Applying for multiple DINs or misrepresenting a DIN carries more serious penalties including a maximum criminal penalty of $26,640, 1-year imprisonment or both, and/or a maximum civil penalty of $1,100,000.

Should you require any further information or assistance in relation to acquiring a DIN, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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