The who, what and when of director IDs

4 November 2022
Winnie Sinn, Partner, Melbourne

Time is fast running out for directors to apply for a director ID.

In previous articles, we discussed the reasons for the introduction of the director ID regime (see here) and the application process in detail (see here).

We have summarised the need-to-know information for existing directors who are in a rush to apply for a director ID by the looming deadline of 30 November 2022.

In this article, we have addressed the responsibilities of directors under the Part 9.1A of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), but note that similar obligations apply to directors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth).

What is a director ID?

A director ID (or DIN) is a unique 15-digit identifier used to verify the identity of a director.  A director ID is issued by the Australian Business Registry Services.

Who needs a director ID?

All ‘eligible officers’ need to apply for a director ID.

An eligible officer is a person who is appointed as either a director or an alternate director (and is acting in that capacity) of a company, a registered Australian body, or a registered foreign company.

Do I need multiple director IDs?

A director will only ever have one director ID, regardless of whether they are a director of multiple companies, move interstate or overseas or change their name.

When do I need to apply for my director ID?

When a director needs to apply for a director ID depends upon their date of appointment as an eligible officer.  All existing directors however will be required to have applied for a director ID by 30 November 2022.

Further details are set out in the following table:

Date of AppointmentApplication Date
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

How do I apply for a director ID?

Obtaining a director ID depends upon whether you are an Australian or foreign director.  There is no charge for applying for a director ID, and a director must apply personally.

Australian directors may apply for a director ID online, by phone or by a paper form.  There are certification requirements for documentation which must be submitted with the application.  See more information here regarding applying for a director ID as an Australian resident director.  The Australian Taxation Office (or ATO) have also published a demonstration video on how to apply online (see here).

Foreign directors must apply for a director ID using a paper form.  There are more stringent certification requirements for the identification documentation which must be submitted with the application.  Translation services also need to be conducted by an approved translation service for documents which are not in English, which should display the official stamp (or similar) of the certifier’s accreditation.  Further information regarding certification, translation and a copy of the paper form is available here (see ‘Live outside of Australia’ section).

It is expected that it may take some time for foreign directors to complete their application due to the translation, certification and postal requirements, so they are encouraged to apply for their director ID as soon as possible.

What happens if I don’t apply for a director ID?

Penalties apply for directors that fail to apply for a director ID by the relevant application date.  These can be both civil and criminal penalties.  The maximum criminal penalty is a fine of $13,200, and a civil penalty of up to $1,100,000.

There are also civil and criminal penalties for multiple director IDs and providing false information in an application for a director ID and/or misrepresenting a director ID.  The maximum criminal penalty is a fine of $26,640 and/ or 1 year imprisonment, and a civil penalty of up to $1,100,000.

What do I do with my director ID?

Directors should provide their director ID to the record holder of each company for which they are appointed a director.  There is currently no requirement for a director to provide their director ID to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (or ASIC).

What happens if I change my details into the future?

Directors are required to update the ABRS if their personal information changes.  This update is additional to the company’s obligations to update ASIC.

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Authored by:

Winnie Sinn, Partner
Michael Castricum, Senior Associate
Pearl Chen, Lawyer

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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