Business structures


28 Jul 2022

A win on transparency on companies and a director ID update


3 min


ASIC axing the fees.

The Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) will soon be the home of the companies register, business names registers, Australian business numbers, and professional and historical registers. Whereas presently the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) provides these services for a range of fees.

In a win for businesses and professionals from September 2023, company searches on the ABRS website will be a free public service, bringing Australia in line with other countries such as NZ, Singapore, and in the UK. The change will bring significant cost savings to business as well as increased transparency and accessibility to the wider community by making business information more trusted and valuable.

Currently, the ABRS manages the director ID requirements as its only service.

Director ID requirements

As discussed in our On The Pulse article by Stephen Hundy “Director IDs now a reality and tardiness to apply holds massive penalties”, new directors from 5 April 2022 must apply for their director ID before being appointed to a company. The director ID is a unique 15-digit identifier given to a director kept for life even if they:

  • change companies

  • stop being a director

  • change their name

  • move interstate or overseas.

Recent guidance from the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association (ARITA) has confirmed when directors of companies in external administration are obligated to obtain director IDs.

  • If a person was previously a director, but not since director ID was introduced (4 April 2021), they do not need to apply for a director ID.

  • People who were directors on 4 April 2021 but were no longer directors at the transitional period’s conclusion on 30 November 2022 are recommended to apply.

  • If a company is deregistered or the director resigned before 4 April 2021 (assuming the person is not a director of any other companies), then no application is required.

  • If a company is deregistered or the director resigned after 4 April 2021, then the director should apply.

Once a director ID is assigned, directors can use their myGovID to log into ABRS to view or update details at any time.

Directors are obligated to provide their director ID to the company’s authorised contact person, registered Australian body or registered foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001, and any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006.

At this stage, director IDs are not searchable by the public, however the ABRS Registrar has indicated there will be community consultation about what details can be disclosed and searched in the future.

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