New Requirements for Directors in Australia – Director ID

From 1 November 2021 new rules will require directors to apply for a ‘Director ID’ if they are the director 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).

As the first service introduced by the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS), Director IDs will help prevent the use of fraudulent director identities and become a mechanism to verify the identity of directors. A Director ID is a unique 15-digit identifier issued to a director once they have verified their identity with the ABRS. You only need to apply for a Director ID once and it will remain the same even if you:

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

A director can verify their identity to the ABRS and apply for their Director ID by:

  • setting up their MyGovID account with a standard or strong identity strength (please note this is different to the standard MyGov account);
  • submitting documents including your tax file number, residential address as held by the ATO and information from two personal documents to verify your identity; and
  • logging into MyGovID with a Standard or Strong identity strength and completing the application for a director ID which should take less than 5 minutes.

 

The following table summarises the key dates that directors governed by the Corporations Act must comply with the new rules by:

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

The following table summarises the key dates that directors of corporations governed by the CATSI Act must comply with the new rules by:

Date you become a director Date you must apply
On or before 31 October 2022 By 30 November 2023
From 1 November 2022 Before appointment


Illegal Phoenix Activity

One reason these new requirements have come into effect is to prevent ‘illegal phoenix activity’. Despite the quirky name, you may be wondering what exactly it is? Illegal phoenix activity is an unscrupulous practice where directors of a company in financial distress (that may be approaching insolvency) create a new company and transfer the assets of the pre-existing company into the new company. The new business may appear identical, however there are often devastating consequences for employees and creditors who are left behind. The Director ID is an effective way to address reprehensible director involvement in such schemes.

Notwithstanding the introduction of Director IDs, Australia has a strict regime governing the duties and responsibilities of directors, particularly for directors of companies that are governed by the Corporations Act. At Allied Legal we understand your obligations as a director and can help you make sense of what this role requires of you. If you need a commercial lawyer on your side, you can get in touch on 03 8638 0888 or send us an email at hello@alliedlegal.com.au.

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