Director ID Update: The ATO Gives Two Week Leeway to Apply For Director Identification Numbers (DIN)

Director ID Update: The ATO Gives Two Week Leeway to Apply For Director Identification Numbers (DIN)

It is not an uncommon experience to lodge your tax return to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on the last day before it’s due. Many Australians do it. 

So it is to be expected that, as the 30 November ATO deadline for company directors to apply for a Director Identification Number (DIN) has rolled around, there has been a headlong rush to apply. 

However, the ATO today announced that, as of 30 November, around 700,000 directors, or over a quarter of the 2.5 million directors around Australia, have not yet lodged their applications.

Failing to apply for a DIN may incur civil penalties ranging from minor financial nudges to $1.1 million, as well as criminal penalties.

Luckily, the ATO has effectively provided two weeks’ leeway for company directors to apply, until 14 December. This extension does not provide complete immunity during that period. The ATO has stated that the Australian Business Registry Services, which is enforcing the DIN requirement, will take a reasonable approach to support people to apply, though it may still apply penalties during this time.  This applies to directors registered under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). The deadline for directors registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth) remains 30 November 2023.

Table of Contents

What are Director Identification Numbers?

A Director Identification Number is a 15-digit unique identification number that all directors— future and existing, must hold.

The DIN will be effective to identify the director for life and cannot be changed.

For more information, see our article on DINs.

What is the purpose of DINs?

The requirement for all directors to hold DINs was implemented for the following purposes:

  1. To improve director identification for the benefit of company stakeholders
  2. To prevent illegal activity including:
    1. identity fraud; and
    2. phoenixing

Key Takeaways

These requirements apply to existing directors. For new company directors, applying for a DIN has been a pre-requisite of being appointed since 5 April 2022.

If you are one of the 700,00 existing directors who has not yet applied, and you don’t apply by 14 December 2022, you may incur a civil or criminal penalty. But don’t stress, we can help you through the process to ensure you don’t miss a step.

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