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  • Writer's pictureShane Ellis

ATO begins ID crackdown on recalcitrant directors

"Half-a-million who failed to apply before the deadline will be contacted by the office."

The ATO is contacting the half-a-million directors who failed to get an ID number before the deadline last December and warns that it is taking non-compliance “seriously”.

It said the first approach would involve supplying guidance on how to apply but said ASIC was policing the scheme “and penalties may apply to those who have missed the deadline”.

Penalties range from $13,200 for failure to apply up to $26,640 and/or a year in jail for misrepresenting a director ID or trying to get more than one.

An ATO spokesperson said its focus remained “making sure people understand their obligations and supporting them to apply for their director ID” as it tried to round up the one in five missing from the scheme despite a two-week extension to the original deadline.

“The community can expect the ATO will take a reasonable approach to directors who have genuinely tried to meet their director ID obligation but have not been able to due to their circumstances,” the spokesperson said.

“However, the deadline for many directors to apply has now passed, and we take non-compliance with applying for director IDs seriously.”

“We are still urging all directors who haven’t already to apply for their director ID as soon as possible. The application process has not changed and directors can apply online at the ABRS website.”

“The ATO has now commenced contacting directors who have not met their obligation to apply for a director ID. In the first instance directors will be provided with guidance on how to apply.”

Despite a last-minute rush, only 2 million of the estimated 2.5 million directors had completed in time.

The process has been a bugbear for accountants, who shouldered much of the burden of informing directors of the obligation but were unable to complete an application on behalf of a client.

An information campaign about the scheme has been running for around 18 months with instructions translated into 10 different languages including Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Hindi.

With an estimated 35,000 Australian directors based overseas, the ATO said it had also worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade “to share information on how to apply through their international advocacy network”.

The ATO administers the scheme on behalf of Australian Business Registry Services and it forms an early stage of the modernising business registers project.

Written by Phillip King for


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