As part of a raft of new reforms, all company directors will require a unique identification number tha twill link them to their directorship. Hitch Advisory explains more below.
The Australian Government has begun implementing the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program with the intention of modernising how directors register and maintain business information for their companies. The program includes the establishment of a new Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) (which will be responsible for leading the MBR program) and is expected to be entirely executed by 2024. The following functions are scheduled to be transitioned into the ABRS between now and 2024:
- The companies register;
- Business names registers;
- Australian business numbers; and
- Professional and historical registers.
Director Identification Number
An early service already being provided by the ABRS is the application of a new unique 15-digit director identifier known as the director identification number (DIN). The introduction of DINs will help prevent fictitious director identities from causing harm to companies; eliminate illegal director activities and unlawful transactions; and make it easier for government regulators to monitor director relationships with other companies.
Each director will be issued with one unique DIN for their lifetime. Directors will be required to use their DINs when interacting with any government agency or performing associated work.
The strict timing requirements for DIN applications vary depending on the date the director has been appointed. These timing requirements are summarised below:
|On or before 31 October 2021
|By 30 November 2022
|Between 01 November 2021 and 04 April 2022
|Within 28 days of the respective appointment date
|Any date on or after 05 April 2022
|Prior to appointment
Directors will be able to apply online via the ABRS website. Directors will require the following information to complete their application:
- A myGovID;
- An individual Australian tax file number (TFN);
- Their residential address; and
- Information from 2 documents to verify their identity (includes documents such as bank account details, a dividend statement, and an ATO Notice of Assessment).
If a myGovID cannot be set up, directors may still be able to apply for a DIN in the following instances:
- If you are a director currently residing in Australia, you may apply for a DIN by phoning the ABRS (13 62 50) where your identity will be verified using your tax file number, your residential address, answers to 2 questions based on details known about you, and a primary and secondary Australian identity document verification.
- If you are a director currently residing outside Australia, you can apply for a DIN using a paper application form. Much like the phone application, you will have to provide documents that verify your identity.
Directors will be penalised for failing to obtain their DIN within the prescribed time period. Maximum fines for individuals who fail to have a DIN when required to do so range up to $13,200 in criminal penalties and $1,100,000 in civil penalties.
Directors will also be penalised where they intentionally provide false information relating to their identity or if they deliberately and knowingly apply for multiple DINs. These penalties range up to $26,640 or 1-year imprisonment (or both) in criminal circumstances and $1,100,000 in civil circumstances. Similar penalties apply to Directors who misrepresent their DIN for by, for example, providing a false DIN to any Government agency.
Further, any individual knowingly involved in the contravention of any of the offences related to the misuse of DINs, may also be open to civil or criminal penalties.