With the enactment of the new laws, all current company Directors and anyone who wishes to become one, will be required to obtain a unique Director identification (Director ID) number. This will be administered by a new national registry service, the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS). Unlike the previous system which allowed any natural person to register themselves as a Director in a database maintained by ASIC, this new registry will assist regulators to accurately identify Directors with verified identification documents, which will assist with enforcing accountability if they commit offences or engage in misconduct, and prevent illegal phoenix activity.

Who should apply for Director ID and when?

All natural persons who are currently registered as a Director, or want to be registered as a Director, of a legal entity under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) must apply for Director ID through the new service called the Australian Business Registry Services (or ABRS). Relevant legal entities include a company, corporate trustee (including a self-managed super fund), charity or not-for-profit organisation, registered Australian body, or a foreign company registered with ASIC carrying on business in Australia.

The deadline for applying for a Director ID depends on when you were appointed as a Director:

  • If you are already a Director on or by 31 October 2021, you must apply for Director ID by 30 November 2022.
  • If you become a Director between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022, you must apply for Director ID within 28 days of your appointment.
  • If you become a Director from 5 April 2022, you must apply for your Director ID prior to your appointment or registration of a company.

Failure to apply for Director ID by the required date may result in criminal or civil penalties of 5000 penalty units, which equates to up to $1.11 million. From the date you receive your Director ID, it will be attached to you permanently, even if you cease to be a Director, move interstate/overseas or change your name.

How do you apply for Director ID through the ABRS?

You must apply for Director ID yourself as you must verify your own identity. However, a staff member at Etheringtons Solicitors can assist you to understand the new Director ID requirements and provide support throughout your application. To apply, you must:

  1. Set up your MyGov ID login, ensuring you achieve standard or strong identity strength, and download the relevant phone application.
    • If you are unable to do this, you can complete your application for Director ID through a slower phone application or paper form which will be available in November 2021 but you must still complete step 2.
  2. Prepare your documentation as evidence of your personal identification. This documentation must be verifiable by the ATO and will include the following:
    • Tax file number (TFN),
    • Residential address as held by the ATO, and
    • Any two of the following personal information documents:
      • Bank account statement
      • ATO notice of assessment
      • Superannuation statement
      • Dividend statement
      • Centrelink payment summary
      • PAYG payment summary.

If your legal entity has an Australian Business Number (ABN), you will be required to confirm whether that organisation is registered as a company with ASIC (with an appropriate Australian Company Number), as an Australian Body (with an appropriate Australian Body Number (ARBN)), or as a foreign company (with an appropriate ARBN).

  1. Once you have a myGovID you can log in and apply for your director ID. If you can’t apply online you can use a downloadable form instead – Application for a director identification number (NAT75329, PDF, 306KB).

How Etheringtons Solicitors can help

A solicitor or other staff member at Etheringtons Solicitors can provide clarification of the relevant law and its relation to your individual circumstances. If you need further advice or assistance with business law matters, please contact one of our experienced solicitors on (02) 9963 9800 or via our contact form.