Effective 1 November 2021, officers, directors and alternate directors of Australian companies, registered Australian bodies, registered foreign companies under the Corporations Act 2001, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act) must verify their identity on the new Director Identification Number (DIN) platform.
The goal of Australia’s DIN program is to eliminate the risk of false or fraudulent director identities. A DIN is a unique identifier that a director applies for once and keeps indefinitely, and which will be used to trace individual directors’ relationship to companies over time.
Applications must be made through the Australian Business Registry Services website. An application for a DIN must be made by directors themselves, as they will need to individually verify their own identity — another party cannot submit an application on the director’s behalf. Eligible applicants must provide the following:
- Their residential address, as recorded with the Australian Taxation Office
- Answers to two personal questions in relation to any of the following:
- Superannuation account details
- A pay as you go (PAYG) payment summary
- Bank account details
The timing of a director’s application depends upon the date of appointment as a director and the applicable law. Directors appointed under the Corporations Act 2021 on or before 31 October 2021 must submit their DIN applications by 30 November 2022. Directors appointed between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022 must submit the application within 28 days of appointment. From 5 April 2022 onward, the application must be submitted before a director’s appointment.
Directors appointed under the CATSI Act on or before 31 October 2022 must submit their DIN applications by 30 November 2022. From 1 November 2022, such directors must submit their applications before appointment.
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission is charged with enforcing the requirements of the DIN program. The maximum penalty for failing to hold a DIN is 60 penalty units (or A$13,320 at the current penalty rate of A$222) and one year imprisonment. Non-compliance or breaches of the requirements by directors may lead to the issuance of infringement notices and possible civil and/or criminal prosecution.