Out-Law Guide 3 min. read

The director ID number regime in Australia

The director identification (ID) number initiative in Australia requires directors at many businesses operating in the country to register for an identity number online and requires employers to keep a record of their identity number.

The scheme is designed to allow for greater clarity and traceability of a director's relationships across companies and will enable better tracking of directors.

Background and scope

As part of the Australian government's Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has set up the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) – a uniform platform to register, view and maintain a business's information with the government. The ABRS is responsible for facilitating the director identification number initiative, which applies from November 2021 onwards.

Individuals need to apply for their director ID themselves, as they are required to verify their identity as part of this initiative. All acting directors, alternate directors, and appointed directors of Australian corporations and registered foreign corporations, managed investment schemes and registered charities under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) must apply for their director IDs. However, the director ID requirements do not apply to unincorporated bodies, shadow directors, or company secretaries. The directors will retain their director ID permanently, even if they are no longer a director.

How should I apply for my director ID?

Apply for a myGovID

Individuals can apply for their director IDs by applying online. First, the individual will need to set up their own myGovID if they do not already possess one. A myGovID is separate from myGov – myGovID is a mobile application which allows an individual to prove who they are when logging in to various government online services. An individual must provide their email address and download the myGovID application on their smart or mobile device to complete their myGovID application.

Prepare documents for verification of identity

Second, the individual should gather their tax file number (TFN), residential address, and two verification documents – for example, bank account details, super account details, a dividend statement or PAYG payment summary – to verify their identity for the purposes of the director ID application.

Complete the director ID application

From November 2021 onwards, an individual can visit the ABRS website to apply for their director ID. According to the draft data standard and the explanatory statement to the data standard released by the ATO, an individual may be asked to provide their: names and former names, addresses and former addresses, contact details, date and place of birth, and TFN.

The individual may also be required to make a declaration to the effect that they are the applicant identified in the director ID application, that the information provided in the application is true and correct, that the individual is either an eligible officer, or intends to become an eligible officer within 12 months of applying for a director ID, and that the individual does not already have a director ID or has been directed by the registrar to apply for a director ID again.

When must an individual apply for a director ID?

Date on which the individual becomes a director Application deadline
On or before 31 October 2021 By 30 November 2022
Between 1 November 2021 – 4 April 2022 Within 28 days of their appointment
From 5 April 2022 onwards Before their appointment

Using director IDs

Once a director receives their director ID, the ID details should be given to the relevant corporation's record-holder. The record-holder may be the company secretary, another director, a contact person, or the company's authorised agent.

Should a director's personal details change, the director must notify the company within seven days. Personal details include the director's name, role or address. In addition, the person responsible for keeping the company officeholder's details updated must inform the Australian Securities & investments Commission (ASIC) within 28 days of this change.

Non-compliance with the director ID regime

ASIC will enforce civil and criminal penalties which apply where individuals:

  • do not apply for a director ID within the deadlines listed above;
  • provide a false director ID;
  • intentionally misrepresent their director ID;
  • apply for more than one director ID intentionally; or
  • are actively involved in contravening any of the above offences.

Moreover, if an individual does not have a director ID and fails to apply for one once directed by the Registrar, under the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 (Cth), they may be served with an infringement notice.

Co-written by Sarah Chan of Pinsent Masons in Sydney. To contact Sarah, please email: [email protected].

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