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Unique Director ID Numbers Required for All Company Directors

Written by Adam Birrer . October 19, 2021
6 min read

All company directors will soon be required to go through an identity verification process and obtain a unique director ID number – including those who are already a director or want to become one.

This requirement covers directors of small Pty Ltd companies and SMSF trustees but does not include those acting as a company secretary only. It does not apply to businesses operating through an unincorporated structure (such as sole traders or partnerships of individuals).

Contents

This change is part of the governments “Modernising Business Registers” program which will also see various registry functions currently carried out separately under the Australian Business Register (ABR) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) brought together under the new Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS). The ABRS will be administering the application process for Director IDs as one of its first initiatives.

While directors have always needed to provide certain personal details to ASIC in order to be appointed as directors, the new process intends to make this process more stringent to assist in combatting illegal activities such as the use of fake identities and phoenixing (where a business is essentially liquidated or abandoned to defeat creditors before being resurrected in a new company).

You can apply for a director ID from November 2021 and deadlines apply as outlined below. Penalties will apply for not meeting director ID obligations, so it’s important to get organised now!

Application requirements & deadline

Per the ABRS, you need a director ID if you're a director or alternate director of a:

  • Company;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation;
  • corporate trustee, for example, of a self-managed super fund;
  • charity or not-for-profit organisation that is a company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation;
  • registered Australian body, for example, an incorporated association that is registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and trades outside the state or territory in which it is incorporated;
  • foreign company registered with ASIC and carrying on business in Australia (regardless of where you live).

For Corporations Act directors, staggered deadlines for obtaining a director ID apply depending on the date you become a director:

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

 

Fortunately, individuals who hold multiple directorships will only have to apply for and maintain one Director ID as it is a unique number that they will hold for life.

What to do now

If not already, directors (or prospective directors) should set themselves up with myGovID and ensure that the app is working. Not to be confused with the similarly-named myGov portal, a myGovID is a digital credential that an individual uses to verify their identity to access government services including ATO online services and the new ABRS.

Applying for a myGovID involves its own identity verification process, so it’s best to look at this sooner rather than later to ensure there are no issues with the required documentation - for instance, more than a few passports have probably quietly expired during Covid travel restrictions!

More information on setting up and using the myGovID credential can be found at the following website: https://www.mygovid.gov.au/

From there, directors will need to pull together personal information and documentation to provide during the application including their Tax File Number (TFN) if available, residential address, and certain documents for verification.

It is likely that foreign directors of Australian companies will find the process more difficult, particularly if they do not have a Tax File Number (TFN). Requirements around certification of documents apply, and there will be added complications for those whose identification documents are in a language other than English (as they need to use an approved translation process).

How to apply

Once you have your myGovID and supporting documents organised, you can apply online with the ABRS here.

A telephone and paper form application process is also expected to be made available in November 2021 for those that cannot apply online.

Note that while an accountant is not allowed to apply for a Director ID on behalf of a director, we can certainly help you understand if you need one and point you in the right direction so please talk with us about any questions you have.

We wish you and your business every success!

*This information is relevant at the time of publishing and is subject to change*
Written by Adam Birrer . October 19, 2021
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