Director identification numbers

Applications for director IDs are now open

DIRECTOR ID

 

Director IDs are here, set up your myGovID now

Director Identification Numbers (Director IDs) are now here. We take a look at what directors need to know about Director IDs, and when they can apply.


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Director identification numbers.

The Government is introducing a new requirement for directors to apply for a unique identification number (Director ID) from November 2021. Director IDs are a part of a package of reforms to address illegal phoenix activity. This initiative will be delivered by the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS), a newly established function of the ATO. 


All eligible directors will be issued with a unique Director ID to be kept permanently and provide traceability of a director's profile and association with companies over their career. 

No, it’s free to apply for your director ID and you only need to apply once.

Director IDs will help prevent the use of fake director identifies and make it easier for regulators to associate directors with companies. 

All directors are required by law to verify their identity with the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) before receiving a director ID. This is important because it will help to:

  • prevent the use of false or fraudulent director identities
  • make it easier for external administrators and regulators to trace directors’ relationships with companies over time
  • identify and address director involvement in unlawful activity, such as illegal phoenix activity.

Illegal phoenix activity is when a company is liquidated, wound up or abandoned to avoid paying its debts. A new company is then started to continue the same business activities without the debt. When this happens:

  • employees miss out on wages, superannuation and entitlements
  • suppliers or sub-contractors are left unpaid
  • ·other businesses are put at a competitive disadvantage
  • the community misses out on revenue that could have contributed to community services.

Your director ID confirms your identity and will in future show which companies you’re linked to.

Find out more at About director ID | Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS)

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You need a Director ID if you’re an eligible officer of:

  • a company, a registered Australian body or a registered foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act)
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).

An eligible officer is a person who is appointed as:

  • a director
  • an alternate director who is acting in that capacity.

You need a Director ID if you're a director of a:

  • company
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation
  • corporate trustee, for example, of a self-managed super fund
  • charity or not-for-profit organisation that is a company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation
  • registered Australian body, for example, an incorporated association that is registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and trades outside the state or territory in which it is incorporated
  • foreign company registered with ASIC and carrying on business in Australia (regardless of where you live).

If your organisation has an Australian business number (ABN), you can use ABN Lookup to find out if it is registered with ASIC as a:

  • company, which will have an Australian company number (ACN)
  • registered Australian body, which will have an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN)
  • registered foreign company, which will have an ARBN.

The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) maintains a register of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations. These corporations have an Indigenous Corporation Number (ICN) and may also have an ABN.

For more information, see Who needs to apply and when | Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS).

If you’re unsure whether you’re a company director or who the directors of an entity may be, you can search company details, including director details, on:

Details of directors are disclosed within the search extract results. Providing that company is maintaining these details and that they are up-to-date, all directors disclosed in the search extract (together with future directors appointed) will be required to obtain a director ID.

Foreign directors living in Australia will be able to apply online if they have:

  •  a myGovID
  • an Australian tax file number.

Foreign directors who live overseas cannot apply online and will need to:

  • complete a paper application form, and
  • provide certified copies of their identity documents.

Find out how to apply for your director ID depending on your situation at Apply for your director ID | Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS)

A director ID is not required if you are a: 

  • director of an incorporated association (with no ABRN) registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC); 
  • company secretary but not a director 
  • acting as an external administrator of a company 
  • run your business as a sole trader or partnership. 

If you were a director in the past, but not since director ID was introduced (4 April 2021), you do not need to apply for a director ID.

When a director must apply for their Director ID depends on the date that individual becomes a director and whether they are a Corporations Act or CATSI Act director, as outlined below.  

All existing directors will have until 30 November 2022 to apply for a Director ID.  

Corporations Act directors 

 

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

  • CATSI Act directors 

Date you become a director

Date you must apply

On or before 31 October 2022

By 30 November 2023

From 1 November 2022

Before appointment

If you apply but you're not currently a director and you don't become a director withing 12 months your ID lapses?

If you intend to become a director in the next 12 months, you can apply for a director ID now. In the event that the director ID is not used within 12 months of applying, the director ID number will be cancelled. You may apply again for a director ID whenever you choose, and you’ll be issued with the same number.

The same director ID is associated with that person forever, even if they are no longer a director, change companies or move interstate or overseas.

You can find scenario examples for if you intend to become a director at Director ID scenarios | Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS)

What defines the director ID 'being used' before the 12 month period lapses?

A director ID is used when the applicant is formally appointed as a director of:

  • a company, a registered Australian body or a registered foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act), or
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).

Directors will be able to start applying for their Director ID from 1 November 2021 from the ABRS website.  

In order to make an application a director will need to have a myGovID. It is important to note that myGovID is different to MyGov, which is commonly used to access existing services from the ATO or Medicare.  

Does the company secretary have to notify ASIC of the director ID number of its directors?

When you receive your director ID, you need to pass it on to the record-holder in your company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation. This might be your company secretary, another director, a contact person or an authorised agent of the company.

If you’re appointed as a director of any other companies or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations in the future, you need to give your director ID to the relevant record-holders.

Does the company need to provide Director IDs as part of its data on the ABRS to link the IDs to the company?

There is no requirement to provide your director ID to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) unless otherwise requested.

There are no changes to ASIC online services (or forms) to make provision for the notification of the director ID.

The ASIC companies register will be transferred to the ABRS in the future. At this time, a person’s director ID will need to be linked to the companies they’re a director of. ABRS will communicate linking arrangements at an appropriate time.

Find out more at Manage your director ID | Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS)

No. Directors must apply for their own Director ID as there are proof of identity requirements that cannot be completed on an individual’s behalf (including by authorised tax or ASIC agents, although agents may assist their clients understand the new requirement and provide support around how and when to apply). 

Civil and criminal penalties will apply where individuals: 

  • fail to apply for a Director ID within the prescribed timeframes or if directed by the regulator to do so 
  • intentionally apply for more than one Director ID 
  • provide a false Director ID 
  • are actively involved in the contravention of any of the above offences. 

ABRS is currently identifying those newly appointed directors who have not applied for their director ID within 28 days of appointment. ABRS is contacting those directors to make them aware of the obligation and encourage application.

Initially, the ABRS’ focus will be on education and awareness and helping directors to do the right thing. The ABRS will notify and support directors who haven't applied in time.

Directors, particularly those who live overseas, may need more time to apply. The ABRS are working with directors to help them meet their obligations with information available on the website on applying for an extension.

If directors fail to act after requests from the Registrar, the ABRS will refer to ASIC to conduct enforcement action.

Access information provided by the ABRS here Director identification number | Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS).  

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