Getting a Director Identification Number

So what is a directors ID and why do I have to have one?

It is a unique ID number that is given to every director of an Australian company (even if they are not an Australian citizen). You keep it forever and the main reason the government is keen on it is to stop phoenix activity and other bad behaviour by directors.

(Phoenixing is where someone will found a company, run up debts, abandon the company and it’s debts and then just found another company – basically, thieving off creditors, employees and customers).

You have to do this application yourself. You can’t delegate it to your tax agent or accountant. But don’t hesitate to ask your accountant for advice.

The application process is done by the Australian Business Registry Service.

To visit their website, click HERE.

Do I have to get one?

Yes! (is the short answer). From now on, you have to have one before you can become a director. If you were a director on or before 31 October 2021, you have until 30 November 2022 to apply for one. (is the long answer).

What if I am not an Australian?

You will have to fill out a paper application. Which you can get HERE.

You also also have to provide certified copies of one primary and two secondary forms of identification. The ID provided and the application, have to be certified by a notary public or by staff at the nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate.

Do not send the original documents because you won’t get them back.

There is a phone number if you need help: +61 2 6216 3440.

For specifics of what foreign ID is acceptable, go HERE.

How do I apply online?

1. Get a “strong identity strength” MyGovID

Read the insert below about how to do that. Sometimes setting up a MyGovID is all plain sailing and if it is that way for you – buy a tattslotto ticket because you are a very lucky individual.

Read the insert below if it gives you problems.

2. You need documents (documents about you personally – not your company).

Basically, you will get asked some questions that the ATO and (hopefully) you know too. Answering them is how you prove that you are really you.

(to quote the ABRS website) You will need:

  • your tax file number (TFN)
  • your residential address as held by the ATO

information from 2 documents to verify your identity. Examples of the documents you can use include:

  • bank account details
  • an ATO notice of assessment
  • super account details
  • a dividend statement
  • a Centrelink payment summary
  • a PAYG payment summary (this is different to your income statement or your PAYG instalment activity statement).

3. Apply online.

You will need to use your MyGovID to log into the application form. Make sure you also have the documentation mentioned in step 2.

Click HERE!

What if I can’t get a get a MyGovID – or can’t apply online?

If you’re in Australia, phone 13 62 50 (see above if you are a foreign national).

If you ring up, make sure you have your Tax File Number (TFN) handy. They are going to ask you questions to verify your identity. So make sure you have the correct name and address in your ATO records.

Also have some recent documents that the ATO have sent you. They are going to ask you for details about yourself that are on record with the ATO.

They will also check 2 identity documents issued by the government. Things like a drivers licence, Medicare card, etc.

If you have the ATO connected to your MyGov account – have it open so you can check your details are up to date and can consult your ATO records for the questions you will be asked.

By “MyGov”, I mean the online portal found at – NOT MyGovID. Who was the idiot who gave the online portal for government services and a phone verification app (pretty much) the same name? Whoever it was – they deserve a permanent posting to Antarctica.

You can also apply by paper but you have to provide certified copies of ID documents. You can get the application form HERE.

For specifics of what ID is acceptable, go HERE.


MyGovID is a phone app that you need to log into government online portals. Most business people already have one because it’s the only way to log into the Business Portal and a whole bunch of other government portals as well.

Download it from the Google Play Store if you have an Android phone or the Apple Store if you you have an Iphone. It will prompt you but basically you just need to give it a personal email address and show it some ID.

For a directors ID you ideally want to have a “strong” identity strength MyGovID. You can only get one if you have an Australian Passport (but an expired one is fine so long as it’s no more than three years expired).

For “strong”, you also need a second ID. You can only use a birth certificate, citizenship certificate, driver’s licence (including learner’s permit) or Medicare card.

For the full list, consult the guide for setting up a MyGovID. Click HERE.

You can also apply with a “standard” MyGovID. This is easier as you only need a drivers licence and medicare card (but you can use other ID – see the guide above).

Why am I having problems setting up MyGovID?

The first troubleshooting tip is to delete and re-download the app and start again every time you hit a problem. That will clear up a lot of issues.

You can scan in your ID documents with your phone’s camera but manually adding the details via the “edit” button can be more reliable.

Are the details on your ID documents both EXACTLY the same? Do they agree with what the ATO have for you? If your ID says “David” but the ATO have “Dave” then it isn’t going to work. Check the date of birth too. Log into your MyGov account and from there, go into the ATO portal (as explained above). Does everything match?

Do you already have an old and forgotten MyGovID? Any email address that is already recorded by MyGovID can not be reused. It’s the same for the ID. If you used your drivers licence on a previous MyGovID – you can’t use it again for another one. One way to check this is to look in the email account you think you used for a previous MyGovID account and look for any emails from MyGovID. If you find some that means you already have an account. Recover that account using the same email address and the same id documents you used previously (once you have done that you can upgrade it to “strong” by showing it your passport).

So hopefully this guide will help you get this little job done. Once you have a directors ID you won’t have to touch it again!