You are being watched

(Director Identification Numbers (DINs) update)

“It’s on the way – a director ID (Director Identification Number)” I heralded in my June 2020 LinkedIn article (Directors – numbered for life).

A year later, where are we at with DINs?

The DIN was announced as part of the 2020 Federal Budget’s Modernising Business Registers Program (“MBR Program”) which was legislated by the Treasury Laws Amendment (Registries Modernisation and Other Measures) Act 2020 (Cth), which received assent on 30 June 2020.

The aim of the MBR Program is to establish a new modern registry service – the Australian Business Registry Services (“ABRS”) – to improve the user experience and simplify the way people interact with business registers.

The ABRS (a new “super registry”) will bring together the Australian Business Register and ASIC’s 31 business registers into a new modern single system at the ATO (the platform is administered by the Commonwealth Registrar (“the Registrar”), occurring as a separate statutory function of the ATO).

A key element of the MBR Program/ABRS is the introduction of DINs: a unique identifier that a director will keep forever.

The intended aim of DINs is to tackle illegal phoenixing activities, increase director accountability and traceability, and prevent the appointment of fictitious directors.

Well, how is it going?

Although perhaps a few months behind the original targets, the process is underway.

On 15 April 2021, ASIC registry staff moved to the ATO: an administrative change to help the Registrar.

And the ABRS is now currently testing the DIN application process in a private beta, being a trial using a sample of directors before all directors are onboarded into the system.

The apparent aim is for testing by the ABRS of the new system to be completed by 31 October 2021, and that once testing is completed, a 12-month transitional period will commence.

Based on the current provisional deadlines:

  • Existing directors will have until 30 November 2022 to obtain a DIN.
  • Any director appointed in the 12-month transitional period will have 28 days to apply for a DIN.
  •  Following the end of the transitional period (after 30 November 2022), individuals will need to apply for a DIN before being appointed as a director.

So, directors don’t need to do anything now, other than watch out for the end of the ABRS testing period and the commencement of the 12-month transitional period.

When the system is up and running, directors will be able to access the ABRS using their myGovID to supply a number of identity documents.

Finally, I note that the DIN regime is expected to cover 10 percent of Australia’s 25.7 million population.

One centralised Government system is to be created, then maintained and managed by the ATO (purportedly with a clear separation between registry functions and other functions of the ATO), under the lauded aim of modernisation and ‘digital first’ government services.

You are being watched.