23 Dec 2021

Director Identification Numbers: What you need to know, one month on

By Danielle Crowe, Charis Chan, Mariam Azzo and Samy Mansour

In November 2021, applications opened for directors of Australian companies and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations to apply for a DIN via the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) website. The DIN regime is a key part of the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) Program, allowing for more effective tracking of directors and their corporate history, providing traceability of a director's relationships across companies, reducing the use of fictitious identities and improving data integrity and security.  

The Government has reported that, since applications opened, more than 185,000 directors have successfully applied for a DIN, with 95% of those applications made online.

What if I was a director of a company pre the DIN regime and I become a director of a company after 31 October 2021 – when do I need to apply for a DIN?

The ABRS has now updated its website to confirm that regardless of any new appointments that occur after 31 October 2021, if a director was an existing director on or before 31 October 2021, they will still have until 30 November 2022 to apply for a DIN in respect of that appointment.

What if my application gets rejected?

The ABRS has made the process to apply for a DIN as seamless as possible with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) confirming that it is highly unlikely an application will be rejected (for guidance on the application process, see our earlier article here). However, there may be instances of rejection for paper applications if there is an issue with the documentation provided.

Although the ATO has confirmed that an online application (via the myGovID app) is the preferred method to apply for a DIN, paper applications must be submitted by directors who do not have a myGovID or who are residing outside of Australia. In addition to the information provided in the online application form, paper applications require directors to provide the ABRS with certified copies of a prescribed number of primary and/or secondary identity documents. It is therefore important for any directors applying via paper form to ensure the documents they are providing satisfy the prescribed requirements before sending their application in the mail to the ABRS. For more information on the documents required in this instance, please see the ABRS website here.

The ABRS has an appeals process where a director can request a review if they disagree with ABRS's decision regarding, for example:

  • its refusal to give the director a DIN;
  • the cancellation of the director's DIN;
  • its refusal of a request for an extension of time to apply for a DIN; or
  • its direction for a director to apply for a DIN.

To request a review, directors will need to complete a Request for review of decision form and mail it to the ABRS. The ATO has confirmed that there is no time limit for requesting a review, however, once the ABRS receives a request, it has a "service standard" of 14 days to process the request. Directors also have the right to have the decision reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. For more information on the review process, please see the ABRS website here.

Once I have a DIN, what do I do with it?

Once a director receives their DIN, they will need to pass it on to the record-holder of each company of which they are a director. The record holder is likely to be the company secretary, but can also be another director, a company contact person or an authorised agent of the company.

At this stage, there is no requirement to provide one's DIN to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

How do I update my personal details once I have a DIN?

Directors who have a myGovID, canlog in to ABRS online to:   

  • check their DIN and status, including when it was issued;
  • view things to do, actions in progress and past activity; and
  • edit their profile preferences and certain personal details.

For directors who do not have a myGovID, they will be required to contact the ABRS directly if they want to find their DIN or update their details. Directors can also update their details with the ABRS by submitting an Update your personal details form.

In addition to notifying the ABRS of any change in a director's personal details (ie. name, role and address):

  • Corporations Act: directors of a registered Australian body or a registered foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) must also notify:
    • the company of which they are a director within seven days of such change; and
    • ASIC within 28 days to avoid late fees (generally this is done by the company record holder lodging a Changes of company details form using ASIC’s online services); and
  • CATSI Act: directors of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth)must also notify:
    • the corporation of which they are a director within 14 days of such change; and
    • the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) of the change within 28 days.

What directors should do now

Australian companies should be aware of the updates outlined above and pass them along to all directors and record-holders. In particular, companies should ensure any directors applying in paper form have provided the required documentation to avoid delays with receiving their DIN. In addition, companies should inform its directors of their obligations once they receive their DIN and how to manage it (including any changes to their personal details) going forward.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.