The long-awaited requirement for directors to obtain director information numbers (DINs) is finally upon us. 

A DIN is a unique 15 digit identifier given to an eligible officer. An eligible officer is a director, an alternate director or someone who is intending to become a director or alternate director of a company, registered Australian body or registered foreign body under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corps Act) or under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth) (CATSI Act).

The purpose of a DIN is to verify the identity of an eligible officer. It is also aimed, in part, to curb illegal phoenixing activity. The requirement to hold a DIN applies to both Australian resident and overseas resident eligible officers.

A single DIN will be given to an eligible officer, who will hold that DIN for life, even if their personal details change or the companies to which they are appointed change. Once issued, an eligible officer will keep his or her DIN even if, at any time, they cease to hold any director positions. If a person is a director under both the Corps Act and the CATSI Act, only one DIN is required to be held.

Eligible officers are required to personally apply for their own DIN. The simplest way of applying is online through the Australian Bureau of Registry Services (ABRS) website, which requires an applicant to establish a myGovID account (via the myGovID app).

Alternatively, applicants can apply by phone or apply by submitting a paper application, provided they have the necessary identification information to verify their identity as part of the application process. Further details on these processes and the identification documentation required are available on the ABRS website.

The requirement to obtain a DIN applies to existing and proposed eligible officers, however, different timeframes apply depending on whether a person is an existing director or is proposing to be appointed as a director.

While there are differences in the transitional arrangements between eligible officers appointed under the Corps Act and those appointed under the CATSI Act, an eligible officer appointed under the Corps Act:

  • Who is an existing director at 1 November 2021, must apply for their DIN on or before 30 November 2022
  • Who becomes a director between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022, must apply for their DIN within 28 days of their appointment
  • Who becomes a director on or after 5 April 2022, must obtain their DIN before they are appointed.

Penalties for non-compliance are high – infringement notices and civil and criminal penalties apply.

Existing directors should apply for a myGovID now to ensure there is no delay in obtaining their DIN. All companies will need to ensure that any new appointments of eligible officers will comply with their DIN obligations within the required timeframes going forward.

Further information / assistance regarding the issues raised in this article is available from the author, Tina van Epen, Partner or your usual contact at Moray & Agnew