The Director Identification Number (DIN) regime is here – Implications for directors

23 November 2021
Edward Martin, Partner, Sydney Kathy Merrick, Partner, Sydney

The Commonwealth Government has introduced the Director Identification Number (DIN) regime through reforms to Part 9.1A of the Corporations Act. From 1 November 2021, DINs became mandatory for all company directors. DINs are expected to assist regulators with their regulatory functions, such as combatting illegal phoenixing activities. DINs of course mean more admin for company directors but its admin that cannot be ignored. Penalties apply for a director’s failure to comply with the DIN regime.

This article addresses the FAQs about what the DIN regime means for company directors, and how directors may register for their DIN.

For further information in relation to how the DIN regime came about, and specific information in relation to the regulatory considerations, please have a read of our earlier article, available here.

What is a Director Identification Number?

A Director Identification Number is a unique 15-digit identifying number issued to directors upon their successful application with the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS). DINs assist enforcement bodies such as ASIC and the ATO to combat:

    1. the fraudulent or false identification of directors;
    2. the difficulties external administrators and regulators experience in tracing director-company relationships; and
    3. director involvement in unlawful activities, such as illegal phoenixing affecting employees, suppliers, creditors, other businesses and the community.

Aside from a relatively quick on-boarding paperwork requirement, the DIN regime will have very little impact on most directors.

Do I need a DIN?

A director of a company or a director of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation will require a DIN if they are an ‘eligible officer’ as defined in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) or the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander) Act 2006 (Cth) (CATSI Act). An eligible officer is:

    1. a director of a company;
    2. an alternate director of a company; and
    3. any other officer of a body corporate that is an Australian registered body or registered foreign company.

A person may also apply for a DIN if they plan to become a director within 12 months of lodging an application with the ABRS.

When do I need to apply for my DIN?

Directors appointed, or soon to be appointed, under the Corporations Act must apply for their DIN within the following timeframes:

Directors appointed before 31 October 2021. Apply by 30 November 2022.
Directors appointed or to be appointed between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022. Apply within 28 days of your appointment.
Directors appointed from 5 April 2022. Apply prior to your appointment.

Directors appointed, or soon to be appointed, under the CATSI Act must apply for their DIN within the following timeframes:

Directors appointed before 31 October 2021. Apply by 30 November 2023.
Directors appointed or to be appointed from 1 November 2022. Apply prior to your appointment.

How do I obtain my DIN?

Directors must personally complete their DIN application. The relevant steps are as follows:

  1. Download the myGovID app and set up an account. The ABRS provides a useful guide on how to do this.
  2. Gather relevant documentation and verification of identity information to provide to the Registrar of Australian Business Registry Services (Registrar). This may include:
    1. the director’s Tax File Number (TFN) (if you are a foreign resident without a TFN, you may be directed to provide alternative identification information);
    2. the director’s residential address; and
    3. information from two certified identity verification documents, such as;
      1. bank account details;
      2. an ATO notice of assessment;
      3. superannuation account details;
      4. a dividend statement;
      5. Centrelink payment summaries; or
      6. a PAYG payment summary.
  1. Complete the application. The application can be made online, by phone, or in paper form if the applicant has a TFN, or in paper form only if the applicant does not have a TFN. We provide further information on how to complete the application below:
    1. Online through myGovID, click here. Applying through myGovID takes approximately five minutes and the DIN will be issued instantly, assuming the application fulfils the identity requirements.
    2. By phone by calling 13 62 50 (domestic), +61 2 6216 3440 (international), or +61 3 9268 8332 (requiring an interpreter).
    3. Paper form through lodging the form accessible here. The completed form must be mailed to the address listed on the form and enclose the relevant supporting documentation.

If the Registrar is satisfied with the application, and identification documents provided are sufficient and certified (for example by a legal practitioner, Justice of the Peace or medical professional), the DIN will be granted.

If a director is unable to lodge a DIN application within the timeline specified above, an extension of time form should be lodged to avoid the risk of incurring a penalty.

What happens once a DIN is granted?

The ASIC companies register is expected to be transferred to the ABRS in late 2023, and it is expected that DINs will be automatically linked to the company’s register. In the interim, it is best practice for a director to provide their DIN to the company’s record-holder.

If a director’s personal details change after a DIN has been granted, a director must update those details with the ABRS online, by phone, or through completing and posting a paper form.

Please note that the DIN regime does not relieve directors from the obligations to notify the company of any changes in personal details with respect to publicly available information, specifically under Part 2D.5 of the Corporations Act.

What happens if I fail to comply with the DIN regime?

If a director fails to comply with the DIN regime, the following penalties may apply:

Penalty ProvisionSectionPenalty
Failure to obtain a DIN Section 1272CCriminal: $13,200
Civil: $1,100,000
Failure to apply for a DIN Section 1272DCriminal: $13,200
Civil: $1,100,000
Applying for multiple DINs Section 1272GCriminal: $26,640 and/or one year imprisonment
Civil: $1,100,000
Intentionally misrepresenting your DIN to a Commonwealth body, company, or registered bodySection 1272H Criminal: $26,640 and/or one year imprisonment
Civil: $1,100,000

How will my information be used?

The Registrar may disclose information obtained through a DIN application to:

    1. Australian Taxation Office;
    2. ASIC;
    3. Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission;
    4. Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations;
    5. law enforcement agencies;
    6. federal, state and local governments;
    7. courts and tribunals; and
    8. bodies under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

The Registrar is required to abide by the disclosure obligations and protections within the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), and therefore may only disclose information within the performance of its functions. However, if a director does not want any information disclosed to the departments and agencies listed above, it is possible to make an application under section 1270N of the Corporations Act. An applicant would be required to demonstrate how such disclosure would be detrimental, and show that these consequences outweigh the benefit to the above departments and agencies performing their functions.

For further information, please have a read of the ABRS’s privacy notice for a director ID, available here.

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Authored by:

Edward Martin, Partner
Kathy Merrick, Partner
Kate Mylott, Lawyer
Alistair MacLennan, Paralegal

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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