On 1 November 2021, applications opened for directors to apply for a director identification number (DIN). This is a new regime in Australia and it is vital that all company directors are aware of how to obtain one.

What is a DIN?

A DIN is a unique 15-digit identifier given to a director, or someone who intends to become a director that will be kept by the individual permanently. The introduction of DINs was in response to a government effort to combat illegal phoenix activity. It is hoped that in the event of liquidation or administration, it will be easier to trace a director’s activities over time and prevent fraudulent director identities.

Who must apply?

The requirement to have a DIN extends to all persons appointed as a director, or an alternate director for companies registered under the Corporations Act, this includes foreign corporations trading in Australia. The application can be commenced through the Australian Business Registry Services website. It is free and can be done via the myGovID app.

When to apply?

Applications are open now and there are strict deadlines. For those who became directors before 31 October 2021, the deadline is 30 November 2022. If you become a director between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022, it must be done within 28 days of appointment. However, for those who get appointed after 5 April 2022, it will have to be done before your appointment.

Directors who fail to apply for a DIN by the deadline could face criminal or civil penalties of up to 5,000 penalty units (currently $1.1 million dollars).

With an estimated 2.1 million company directors in Australia, this requirement will affect a number of Australians.