The ATO has confirmed the Australian Business Registry Service (ABRS) will not be used as a source of public information with regard to director identification (ID) numbers.
During a discussion with the SMSF Association, ATO SMSF industrial liaison, policy and governance senior director Martin Frauenfelder stipulated: “The law doesn’t authorise the ABRS to disclose director IDs to the public without the director’s consent, so director IDs won’t be searchable by the public.”
This condition may be subject to change at a later date after public consultation regarding what details may be disclosed and may be the subject of a search in the future.
SMSF Association technical manager Mary Simmons lauded this initial safeguard given some of the illegal activity of which the industry needs to be mindful.
“Protecting the privacy of directors is very important particularly with the ever increasing risk of cybersecurity and identity theft,” Simmons said.
Frauenfelder also revealed the ATO currently has no plans for the director ID regime to assist with recognising individuals who are not able to act as SMSF trustees as a result of being declared bankrupt.
“We already identify individuals who are bankrupt and looking to enter the system. However, if we were to incorporate the director ID into our risk models it might be for identifying an individual who has a pattern of phoenixing for example,” he explained.
“However until this is fully functional we will continue to carry out our risk assessments using the current systems.”
Frauenfelder also assured individuals they do not need to provide the Australian Securities and Investments Commission with any additional information once they have obtained a director ID.
“There is no need or additional requirements to provide the director ID to ASIC and there are no changes to ASIC online services or forms to make provision for the notification of the director ID,” he said.
“The ASIC companies register will be transferred to the ABRS in the future, which we expect to be around September 2023, and by this time a person’s director ID will have been linked to the companies they are directors of.”
During the same discussion he noted the preferred application method for a director ID is the myGovID app developed for mobile devices.