Everything You Need to Know About Director ID & the New Australian Business Registry

Checklist document in laptop

The new Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) is now live, and from November individuals can apply for a director ID.

This is something that all company directors will need to do, I’m afraid!

The registry, which is being rolled out as part of the government’s Digital Business Plan, has been set up to streamline how businesses register, view and maintain their business information with the government.

As part of this, each director will need to set up their own director ID. This is a unique identifier that company directors need to apply for once and keep forever.

Company directors must apply for their director ID personally, so the Australian Taxation Office can verify their identity. Authorised tax agents/ASIC agents or accountants can’t apply for a director ID on behalf of clients, but we can help clients understand the new requirements and address any anomalies that may exist.

The director ID application is available from November 2021 at Director identification number | Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS).

To log in to ABRS online you will need to use the myGovID app, set to a Standard or Strong identity strength.

How director ID works

A director ID is a 15-digit identifier given to a director (or someone who intends to become a director) who has verified their identity.

Directors will only ever have one director ID. They’ll keep it forever even if they:

  • change companies,
  • stop being a director,
  • change their name, or
  • move interstate or overseas.

Why you need a director ID

Shareholders, employees, creditors, consumers, external administrators and regulators are entitled to know the names and certain details of the directors of a company.

All directors are required by law to verify their identity with the ABRS before receiving a director ID. This is important because it will help to:

  • prevent the use of false or fraudulent director identities,
  • make it easier for external administrators and regulators to trace directors’ relationships with companies over time, and
  • identify and eliminate director involvement in unlawful activity, such as illegal phoenix activity.

Who needs to apply and when?

When you need to apply depends on the date you become a director.

Who needs a director ID?

You need a director ID if you’re an eligible officer of:

  • a company, a registered Australian body or a registered foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act); or
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).

An eligible officer is a person who is appointed as:

  • a director or
  • an alternate director who is acting in that capacity.

When you need to apply

You can apply for a director ID now.

If you’re planning on becoming a director, you can apply before you’re appointed.

Transitional rules apply for companies that were created prior to 31 October 2021.

When you must apply depends on when you were appointed as a director:

  • Existing directors have until 30 November 2022 to apply.
  • Directors appointed between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022 must apply within 28 days of their appointment.
  • From 5 April 2022, intending directors must apply before being appointed.

Note that different rules apply to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).

Related tag: Business Accounting Services