By Rita Caporrella, Corporate Secretarial Officer.
What is a Director Identification Number?
A Director Identification Number (Director ID) is a unique 15 digit number used to identify directors. You will need a Director ID if you're a director of a company, registered Australian body, registered foreign company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation. You only need to apply once for a Director ID, you will keep the same Director ID if you stop being a director, become a director of another company, or multiple companies, change name, or move interstate or overseas.
The introduction of Director IDs are part of the government’s Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program. The MBR program includes the establishment of Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) which is intended to streamline how you register, view and maintain your business information with government.
Why are Director IDs being introduced?
There are many reasons behind the introduction of Director IDs:
- To deter illegal phoenix activity (where a new company is set up in order to avoid paying outstanding debts of an existing company)
- To prevent the appointment of fictitious directors or the appointment of directors to companies without their knowledge or consent
- To increase traceability and transparency of the relationship between directors and their companies
- To improve data integrity and security
Who needs a Director ID?
Individuals will be required to have a Director ID if they are a Director (or act as an Alternate Director) of a:
- Company, registered Australian body or registered foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act), or
- Corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).
Individuals who intend to become a Director within 12 months may also apply for a Director ID but If the Director ID is not linked to a company within 12 months, the Director ID will be cancelled and the director will need to apply to reactivate it.
You do NOT need a Director ID if you are:
- A company secretary
- running a business as a sole trader or partnership
- referred to as a ‘director’ in your job title but have not been appointed as a director under the Corporations Act or the CATSI Act
- an officer of an unincorporated association, cooperative or incorporated association established under state or territory legislation, unless the organisation is also a registered Australian body.
When do I need to apply?
When a director needs to apply depends on when they became or intend to become a director
Existing directors appointed before 31 October 2021
New directors appointed between 1 November 2021 & 4 April 2022
New directors appointed after 5 April 2022
CATSI Act directors appointed before 31 Oct 2022
By 30 November2022
Within 28 days after appointment
Before being appointed as a director
By 30 November 2023
Can apply up to 12 months prior to appointment
How do I apply for a Director ID?
Directors must apply for their Director ID number themselves. It cannot be completed by an ASIC Agent or Tax agent but agents can assist directors to understand the requirements and if and when they need to apply.
To receive a director ID, individuals must verify their identity with a myGovID or identity documents and complete an application.
There are 3 ways to verify a director’s identity & apply for a Director ID:
- Online application - using the myGovID app. This is the fastest way to receive your Director ID
- Phone application - if you have an Australian TFN
- Paper application - if you are unable to get a myGovID, can’t apply online or over the phone or live overseas.
Note: myGovID is different from myGov
- myGovID is an app. You download the myGovID app to your smart device. It lets you prove who you are and log in to a range of government online services.
- myGov is an account. Your myGov account lets you link to and access online services provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Centrelink, Medicare and other government agencies.
If you don’t have a myGovID, you find out how to set one up here https://www.mygovid.gov.au/set-up
You can find more information on the Director ID application process here https://www.abrs.gov.au/director-identification-number/apply-director-identification-number
Applying from outside Australia
If you live overseas and need to apply for a Director ID, you can apply using a downloadable form available on the ABRS website. In addition to the form, you will need to supply certified (and translated – if applicable) copies of two identification documents from the following list, one being a primary document. The form and certified copies of identity documents must then be posted to the ABRS.
Primary proof of identity documents:
Foreign birth certificate
Australian birth certificate
Secondary proof of identity documents:
National photo identification card
Foreign government identification
If you are unsure if you need to apply for a Director ID number or need some assistance with understanding the process, please contact us and we will be happy to step you through it.
This information is current at the time of publication and further updates may have occurred since that date. Please contact us for the latest information.