As of this week, prospective directors of all companies, including SMEs, must hold or have applied for a director ID before they can be appointed.
This applies to directors of a company, registered foreign company, registered Australian body, or Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island corporation companies.
The much-discussed director ID enables all company directors to verify their identity with the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) and Australian Taxation Offices (ATO).
As per director ID compliance, directors appointed under the Corporations Act 2001 before 31 October 2021 have until the end of November 2022 to apply for this number. Directors appointed between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022 must apply within 28 days of appointment.
From 5 April 2022, new directors must have applied for a director ID before appointment.
For directors appointed under the Corporations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (CATSI) Act 2006, those appointed on or before 31 October 2022 have till 30 November 2023 to apply for their director ID. New directors from 1 November 2022 must have a director ID before appointment.
It is free to apply for the director ID and the fastest way to do this is online using the myGovID app. The identification will remain with an individual forever, even if they change their name, change companies, or move overseas. Notably, all directors must apply personally and no one can apply on their behalf, not even authorised agents.
The ID will start with 036 (the 3-digit country code for Australia under International Standards ISO 3166) and end with an 11-digit number and one ‘check’ digit for error detection. Foreign directors living in Australia can apply online, though foreign directors overseas will need to complete a paper application and provide certificate copies of their identity documents.
Civil and criminal penalties will apply to those who do not apply for the director ID, apply for multiple director IDs, or provide a false director ID. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for enforcing director ID offences.
Mandating that directors verify their ID with Australian authorities is intended to assist regulators, increase transparency, identify and eliminate adverse cross directorships, and help foster a fairer business environment in the country.