Director Identification Number

Articles > Startups

What is a Director Identification Number and do I need one?

November 5, 2021         Jayfer Joy

From November 2021, company directors will have to apply for a 15-digit identification number as part of the government’s Modernising Business Registers Program.

What is the Directors Identification Number

A Director Identification Number (DIN) is a unique identifier given to a director or someone who intends to become a director. This number is permanent, and will be kept by the individual through the remainder of their life, regardless of whether they stop being a director, change companies, or even move overseas. 

An application for a DIN may require the following information:

  • The individuals name and former names,
  • Addresses and former addresses,
  • Contact details,
  • Date and place of birth,
  • Tax file number.

Why was this measure introduced?

These measures were introduced as part of the Australian Government’s 2020-21 Budget’s Digital Business Plan, in which the government will fund the implementation of the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program.  The MBR is planned to streamline business compliance as it allows them to view, update and maintain their business registry data in one location, which will be monitored by the Australian Business Registry Services within the ATO. This is intended to make the process of creating, running and exiting a business more efficient.

The DIN was introduced as part of the MBR program in order to curb fraudulent activities such as illegal phoenixing activities and improve traceability of directors. 

Who needs to apply for one

All eligible officers need to apply for a DIN. This will include directors, people expecting to be directors within 12 months and alternative directors who are acting in that capacity regardless of the name given to that position of:

  • a company, a registered Australian body or registered foreign company;
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation.
  • a charity or non-for-profit organisation that is a company or Aboiriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation.

You don’t need a DIN if you are a:

  • company secretary but not a director,
  • acting as an external administrator,
  • sole trader or in a partnership
  • have not been appointed director under the Corporations or CATSI Act,
  • director of a registered charity that is not registered with ASIC,
  • an officer of an unincorporated association, cooperative, or incorporation association established under legislation, unless the organisation is also a registered Australian body. 

When do directors need to apply 

When you must apply depends on when you come a director:

Date you become directorDate you must apply 
On or before 31 October 2021By 30 November 2022
Between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022Within 28 days of appointment
From 5 April 2022Before appointment

These requirements change if you are a CATSI Act director. You must apply by 30 November 2023 if you were a CATSI Act director on or before 31 October 2022, and must apply before appointment if you are a CATSI Act director from 1 November 2022. 

If you fail to register, you are in breach of your director obligations, and there may ultimately be civil or criminal penalties associated with the breach and you may be issued with an infringement notice. 

For legal advice concerning your directors duties, contact the team of corporate lawyers at OpenLegal on 1300 337 997 or by filling out the form on this page.

About Jayfer Joy

Jayfer is a paralegal with OpenLegal. His legal areas of focus include conveyancing, intellectual property, and commercial litigation. Jayfer is also passionate about podcasts in the legal space.