Starting 1 November, company directors will be able to apply to Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) for their Director Identification Number (DIN).
Recent amendments to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) will require existing and new company directors to have a DIN.1 Accordingly, any appointed director or alternate director of a company, registered body, registered foreign entity, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation, will need to obtain a DIN from the ABRS.2
Importantly for legal practitioners, the new DIN requirements apply to legal practitioner directors, but will not extend to sole traders, trustees or partners in a partnership (unless the individual is a director of a corporate partner or corporate trustee).
A DIN is a unique identifier that a director will apply for once and keep forever.3 Once allocated, the director will keep their DIN for life, even where they cease to be a director.4 The regime is being implemented as a measure to combat fraud and illegal phoenixing, and to better identify and track individual directors across companies.5
Under the new provisions, there are only limited circumstances in which a DIN can be cancelled, including when a person’s identity has not been established, when a person has been given another DIN, or when the person has not become a company director within 12 months of being allocated a DIN.6
Current directors have until 30 November 2022 to apply for their DIN (30 November 2023 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations), while anyone who becomes a director between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022 will need to lodge a DIN application within 28 days of being appointed a director. For those who are appointed as a director from 5 April 2022, an application will need to be made for a DIN before their appointment as a director.
Directors who fail to obtain a DIN within the prescribed time frames can face criminal and civil penalties, including a civil penalty up to 5000 penalty units (currently over $1.1 million).7
The new provisions also create a number of additional offences, including: when a person knowingly gives false or misleading information, when a person knowingly applies for a new DIN when they already have a DIN; when a person intentionally misrepresents a DIN, or, when a person is involved in a contravention.8
To apply for a DIN, directors will need to submit verification of identity documents and a valid MyGovID to the ABRS. Accordingly, company directors will need to apply for their own DINs; no one can apply on their behalf.
Yale Hudson-Flux is a graduate intern at Queensland Law Society. This article was prepared under the supervision of QLS Policy Solicitor Brooke Thompson.
1 Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) pt 9.1A.
2 Ibid ss1272B, 1272C.
3 Explanatory Memorandum, Treasury Laws Amendment (Registries Modernisation and Other Measures) Bill 2019 (Cth) 39.
4 Ibid 39.
5 ‘About Director ID’, ABRS, (accessed 19/10/2021).
6 Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) ss1272(3)-(4).
7 Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) s1272C(5).
8 Ibid ss1272A(4), 1272C(5), 1272G(1), (4), 1272H(1)-(2).