(Australian Business Registry Services)
Last updated 12 October 2021
All directors of a company, registered Australian body, registered foreign company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation will need a director identification number (director ID).
About director ID
A director identification number (director ID) is a unique identifier you need to apply for once and will keep forever. It will help prevent the use of false or fraudulent director identities.
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 with us.
A director ID starts with 036, which is the 3-digit country code for Australia under International Standard ISO 3166
ends with an 11-digit number and one ‘check’ digit for error detection.
Directors need to apply for their own director ID. It’s free to apply.
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
- 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 us 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
- identify and eliminate director involvement in unlawful activity, such as illegal phoenix activity.
Illegal phoenix activity is when a company is liquidated, wound up or abandoned to avoid paying its debts. A new company is then started to continue the same business activities without the debt. When this happens:
- employees miss out on wages, superannuation and entitlements
- suppliers or sub-contractors are left unpaid
- other businesses are put at a competitive disadvantage
- the community misses out on revenue that could have contributed to community services.
You need a director ID if you’re a director of a:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation
- corporate trustee, for example, of a self-managed super fund
- charity or not-for-profit organisation that is a company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation
- registered Australian body, for example, an incorporated association that is registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and trades outside the state or territory in which it is incorporated
- foreign company registered with ASIC and carrying on business in Australia (regardless of where you live).
If your organisation has an Australian business number (ABN), you can use ABN LookupExternal link to find out if it is registered with ASIC as a:
- company, which will have an Australian company number (ACN)
- registered Australian body, which will have an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN)
- registered foreign company, which will have an ARBN.
The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC)External link maintains a register of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations. These corporations have an Indigenous Corporation Number (ICN) and may also have an ABN.
|Date you become a director||Date you must apply|
|On or before 31 October 2021||By 30 November 2022|
|Between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022||Within 28 days of appointment|
|From 5 April 2022||Before appointment|
To be a director under the Corporations Act, you must:
- be an individual who is at least 18 years old
- not be disqualified from managing corporations, unless the appointment is made with the permission of ASIC or the Court.
How to apply for your director ID
Step 1 – Set up myGovID
myGovID is different from myGov
myGovID is an app you download to your smart device. It lets you prove who you are and log in to a range of government online services, including myGov.
myGov is an account that lets you link to and access online services provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Centrelink, Medicare and more.
Step 2 – Gather your documents
You will need to have some information the ATO knows about you when you apply for your director ID:
your tax file number (TFN)
your residential address as held by the ATO
information from two documents to verify your identity.
Examples of the documents you can use to verify your identity include:
- bank account details
- an ATO notice of assessment
- super account details
- a dividend statement
- a Centrelink payment summary
- PAYG payment summary.
Step 3 – Complete your application
Here is a link to the ABRS site
* Note that the site does not allow you to apply for an ID as yet. Applications will start on 1 November 2021
Help and support
If you use an authorised tax, BAS or ASIC agent they can help you decide if you need to apply. However, they can’t apply for a director ID on your behalf.