From 1 November 2021, directors of Australian companies will need to apply for a Director Identification Number (Director ID). The new regime is a part of the Australian Federal government’s initiative to combat illegal phoenixing activity. Applying for a Director ID is compulsory for all eligible directors.
What is a Director ID
A Director ID is a unique 15-digits identifier issued by the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) to a director (or someone who intends to become a director). This identifier will be recorded both with the new Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) and ASIC.
The unique Director ID will be assigned to the director forever and will not change if the director resigns, change companies, changes name or moves overseas.
The purpose of introducing Director ID regime is 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 eliminate director involvement in unlawful activity, such as illegal phoenix activity.
Who needs a Director ID
You need a director ID if you are a Director or an Alternate 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).
Who does not need a Director ID
A director ID is not required if you are:
- a company secretary but not a director
- running your business as a sole trader or in partnership
- an Individual Trustee of a trust
- acting as an external administrator of a company
- a director of an incorporated association (with no ABRN) registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)
- an ASIC Agent
When to apply for a Directors ID
When you must apply for a Director ID depends on when you become a director.
For directors under the Corporation Act, the following deadlines apply:
|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|
How to apply for a Director ID
Online using MyGovID
The fastest way to apply for a Director ID is online using the myGovID app with either a Standard or Strong identity strength (if you do not have MyGovID, you need to download the app and set it up by verifying your identity).
To complete your online application, you need the following information to verify your identity:
- Your Tax File Number (TFN). Providing your TFN is optional but it speeds up the process.
- Your residential address, as recorded by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
- Answers to two questions based on details known about you from the following documents:
- Bank account details
- ATO Notice of assessment
- Super account details
- Dividend statement
- Centrelink payment summary – PAYG payment summary
Once you collected the necessary documents, apply for Director ID online via the ABRS.
If you cannot apply online, you can apply:
Keep your Director ID safe to protect your identity
Your Director ID confirms your identity and will in future show which companies you are linked to.
At the time of writing, Directors ID are not made public. The ABRS will consult the community about what details can be disclosed and searched in the future.
For now, you need to keep your Director ID safe to protect your identity until further advice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do directors of trustee companies need to apply for a Director ID?
Yes. Directors of corporate trustees (including corporate trustees of SMSF’s) do need to apply for a Director ID.
Individual trustees do not need to apply for a Director ID.
Can I have more than one Director ID?
Directors will only ever have one Director ID. They will keep it forever even if they:
- change companies
- stop being a director
- change their name
- move interstate or overseas.
It is an offense to apply for more than one director ID, unless you are directed to do so by the Registrar.
Can a Tax Agent or ASIC Agent apply for Director ID on my behalf?
Directors need to apply for their own director ID personally. No one can apply on your behalf.
Agents may assist their clients understand the new requirement and provide support around how and when to apply.
What if I cannot apply in time?
If you cannot apply by the due date, you can complete an Application of an extension of time to apply for a director ID (NAT75390, PDF, 271KB) and send it to Australian Business Registry Services.
Where can I view my director ID?
If you have a myGovID, you can log in to ABRS online to view your director ID or update your details whenever you need to.