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Director Identification Numbers (DINs) – what you need to know

what directors need to know about digital identification numbers

By Nancy Tang and Victoria-Jane Otavski

As part of the federal government’s “Modernising Business Registers” program, the newly established Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) will centralise and streamline business information registers maintained by ASIC and the Commissioner of Taxation.

As part of these changes, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Modernisation and Other Measures) Act 2020 (Cth) introduced a new requirement for directors and alternate directors to hold a director identification number (DIN). Accordingly, from November 2021, directors will be required to verify their identity and apply for a DIN with the ABRS.

What is a DIN and why are they being introduced?

A DIN is a 15-digit unique identifier issued to a director who has verified their identity with the ABRS. A director will only ever have one DIN, to be retained in perpetuity even if they change their name, change companies, move interstate or overseas or cease being a director.

The introduction of the DIN regime is part of the federal government’s initiative to promote good corporate governance and director conduct. A DIN will prevent the use of false or fraudulent identities and allow regulators and external administrators to trace a director’s relationships across companies and investigate their involvement in unlawful activity, including illegal phoenix activity. Other legislative changes introduced this year to combat illegal phoenix activity are summarised here.

Who needs to apply for a DIN?

Directors and alternate directors of the following entities will need to apply for a DIN:

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

When do directors need to apply for a DIN?

Applications for DINs commence in November 2021. However, the Corporations (Director Identification Numbers – Transitional Application Period) Instrument 2021 sets out transitional arrangements for directors appointed on or before 31 October 2021. Accordingly, the deadline for applications, summarised below, will depend on when a director was appointed.

  Date of appointment Deadline for DIN applications
Directors / alternate directors of entities regulated under the Corporations Act On or before 31 October 2021 By 30 November 2022
Between 1 November and 4 November 2022 Within 28 days of appointment
From 5 April 2022 Before appointment
Directors / alternate directors of entities regulated under the CATSI Act On or before 31 October 2021 By 30 November 2023
From 1 November 2022 Before appointment

How to apply for a DIN

Directors will need to apply for their own DIN with the ABRS. The Application is free of charge and can be made online, via the ABRS website provided they have a myGovID and identification documents. Applications can also be made by phone or by using a paper form.

What are the consequences of non-compliance?

Directors who fail to apply for a DIN within the specified timeframe may be issued with an infringement notice or be subject to civil or criminal penalties. Additionally, directors may be subject to criminal penalties for deliberately providing false identify information or intentionally applying for multiple DINs.

Contact Us

If you require any advice or assistance about the new DIN requirements, please contact Victoria-Jane Otavski (victoria.jane@automicgroup.com.au) or Nancy Tang (Nancy.Tang@automicgroup.com.au) of Automic Legal. Alternately, click here to be contacted by one of our Legal team members.

Learn more about Automic Group’s professional services capabilities.