Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand supports the introduction of a Director Identification Number (DIN) and looks forward to working with regulators to implement today’s announcement by the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer.
Comments about the DIN initiative from Chartered Accountants ANZ attributed to Michael Croker, Head of Tax.
- Identity verification processes need to be the cornerstone of a DIN. We see a role here for competent, ethical advisers such as Chartered Accountants whose responsibilities would include keeping the DIN up to date and providing assurance about their clients’ identity.
- The DIN must be a “tell-us-once” centralised online report which meets the needs of multiple Federal and State regulators and reduces compliance costs. We hope the States and Territories come on-board with this.
- It’s vital that associate relationships be identified using both data provided directly by directors and data analytics. Similar initiative overseas include associate-tracking functionality which helps regulators identify family members and related entities.
- The Government should announce its thinking on the tracing of beneficial ownership. The consultation process closed in March 2017 and we haven’t heard much since.
- The DIN raises obvious privacy and identity theft issues. For example, should directors’ residential addresses be shielded from public gaze?
- There are a number of less obvious benefits. For example, the DIN helps identify those new to the director role so that suitable educational products can be pushed to them and hopefully increase awareness of their responsibilities and duties.
Mr Croker also acknowledged that phoenix activity, pre-insolvency planning and tax fraud is an on-going issue of concern for the accounting profession and others referred to as “professional facilitators” in the recently published Organised Crime in Australia report.
“Chartered Accountants ANZ engages with regulators such as the ATO to learn about the illegal behaviours they encounter and discuss how we protect and enhance the reputation of our members and the CA brand. We also invest heavily in ethical guidance to our members and disciplinary processes.”