Starting from 1 November 2021, company directors including foreign directors are required by law to apply for a director identification number (director ID) following legislation passed by the government.
WHAT IS A DIRECTOR ID?
A director ID is a unique identifier issued by the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS), which a director will apply for once and keep forever. The director ID aims to help prevent the use of false or fraudulent director identities. It will help regulators trace directors’ relationships with companies over time and identify situations where a director may be involved in unlawful activities such as illegal phoenixing activities.
WHO NEEDS TO APPLY FOR A DIRECTOR ID?
If you are currently a director, or intend to become one, you will need a director ID. This includes anyone who is, or wants to be, a director of a company, a registered foreign company, a registered Australian body or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation.
It is important to note that directors must apply for a director ID themselves as they will need to verify their identities with the authority. No one can apply on their behalf. However, we as your authorised tax agent can provide you advice on what the requirements are for applying for a director ID.
Furthermore, for overseas directors who need to apply for a director ID using a paper form, most overseas couriers will not deliver to the ABRS’s P.O. Box address. In this case you may wish to send the completed paper form and identification documents to our address and we can deliver the documents on your behalf to the ABRS’s address.
WHEN DO YOU NEED TO APPLY BY?
The date of when a director must apply for a director ID will depend on when they were appointed as a director for the first time:
- New directors appointed for the first time between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022 must apply within 28 days of their appointment.
- From 5 April 2022, new directors must apply for a director ID prior to being appointed as company directors.
- Existing directors appointed before 1 November 2021 have until 30 November 2022 to apply.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A DIRECTOR ID?
There are three ways to apply for a director ID:
- Online: If you already have a myGovID with a Standard or Strong identity strength, you can apply for your director ID online through the ABRS website. This will generally be the fastest process.
- By phone: If you are unable obtain a myGovID with a Standard or Strong identity strength, you can apply for a director ID by phone. However, you will need to have an Australian tax file number (TFN) and the required information to verify your identity over the phone.
- By mail: If you cannot apply online or over the phone, you can apply via paper form and provide certified copies of two identity documents. This will generally be a slower process.
WHAT TO DO AFTER OBTAINING YOUR DIRECTOR ID
Once you receive your director ID, you will need to pass it on to the record-holder of your organisation, who may be either your company secretary, another director, a contact person or an authorised agent of the company. If you are appointed as a director of any other companies in the future, you will need to provide your director ID to the relevant record-holders. There are also on-going obligations in managing the director ID and updating the ABRS.
The ABRS is responsible for the implementation and administration of director IDs while the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will be responsible for the enforcement of associated offences. It is important to note that it is a criminal offence if you do not apply for a director ID on time.
Please Note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information’s applicability to their particular circumstances.