From 1 November 2021, any person that holds a director position must register for a Director Identification Number (DIN) to comply with their obligations under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Treasury Law Amendment (Registries Modernisation and Other Measures) Act 2020 (Cth).
A DIN is a 15-digit number given to a director that will remain for the life of the director. A director is not permitted to apply for an additional or new DIN unless they are instructed to do so by the Registrar of Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS).
The purpose of introducing the new DIN requirements is:
- to help prevent the appointment of fictitious directors;
- make it easier to trace a director’s profile and company relationships; and
- prevent illegal activity, such as phoenix activity, by ensuring directors can be traced across companies.
Who needs to obtain a DIN?
You need to obtain a DIN if you are a director, or an alternate director of:
- an Australian or foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth);
- a registered Australian body, for example; a body corporate that is not a company, or a financial institution; or
- an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth).
This includes directors of corporate trustees (including corporate trustees of self-managed super funds) and charities or not for profit organisations registered as a company. Foreign resident directors will also need to obtain a DIN. For foreign resident directors that do not have Australian identification documents, the process is likely to be more difficult so it should be commenced as soon as possible.
A full list of persons who need or do not need a DIN can be found at www.abrs.gov.au.
How do you obtain a DIN?
Directors must personally apply for a DIN. This cannot be applied for by your lawyer, accountant or anyone else acting on your behalf because your identity needs to be verified. The easiest way to obtain a DIN is online through the ABRS website which requires a myGovID (which is different from a standard myGov account). There is no cost to apply.
When do you need to obtain your DIN by?
The timeframe that applies to you will depend on when you become, or will become, a director.
The following deadlines apply to directors appointed to companies that are governed by the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth):
|Date you become a director||Date you must apply|
|On or before 31 October 2021||By 30 November 2022|
|Between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022||Within 28 days of appointment|
|From 5 April 2022||Before appointment|
The timeframes for directors of companies that are governed by the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth), or foreign resident directors are different so you should seek specific advice if this applies to you.
Penalties for non-compliance
It is a legal obligation to obtain a DIN in accordance with the applicable timeframes from 1 November 2021. If you fail to obtain a DIN within the required timeframes, you may be liable for criminal or civil penalties (currently up to 5,000 penalty units or $1.11 million) and could be issued with an infringement notice under the relevant Act.
If you wish to discuss any of the above or require further information please contact our Commercial Team on (02) 4927 2900.