DPN: Directors Penalty Notice

Mark Hutchins

Mark Hutchins

Director - Secured Lending

Protect yourself as a director by staying informed on Director Penalty Notices (DPN).

I As a director of a company, it’s important to understand your obligations and responsibilities. One of these obligations is ensuring your company pays its debts, including superannuation contributions, on time. If your company fails to do so, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) can issue a Director Penalty Notice (DPN) to you, personally.

What is a Director Penalty Notice?

A DPN is a notice issued by the ATO to a director of a company that has failed to pay its debts. The purpose of the notice is to hold the director personally responsible for the company’s outstanding debts and encourage them to take action to rectify the situation.

Why would the ATO issue a Directors Penalty Notice?

The ATO will issue a DPN if your company has failed to pay its superannuation contributions or Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding tax, or if your company has not remitted Goods and Services Tax (GST) to the ATO.

What happens if you receive a Directors Penalty Notice?

If you receive a DPN, you have 21 days to take action to rectify the situation. This could include making arrangements to pay the outstanding debts or resigning as a director. If you fail to take action within 21 days, the ATO can recover the debt from you personally.

The Issues Surrounding Director Penalty Notices

  1. Personal Liability: One of the most significant issues with DPNs is the personal liability they impose on directors. Directors can become personally liable for the unpaid PAYG withholding and superannuation guarantee amounts, even if the company is unable to pay its tax debt.

  2. Strict Timeframes: Director Penalty Notices often come with strict timeframes for compliance. If a director fails to take appropriate action within the specified timeframe, they may face severe consequences, including personal liability and potential legal action.

  3. Personal Asset Risk: Unresolved Director Penalty Notices can expose directors’ personal assets, including their homes, savings, and other investments, to potential seizure or legal action by tax authorities. This can have long-lasting financial repercussions for directors and their families.

  4. Impact on Directors’ Creditworthiness: Personal liability for unpaid tax liabilities can have a detrimental impact on directors’ creditworthiness. It can hinder their ability to secure financing, obtain favorable credit terms, or pursue other business opportunities.

Protecting Your Personal Liability:

  1. Timely Action: It is essential to take prompt action upon receiving a Director Penalty Notice. Consult with tax professionals or legal advisors experienced in DPN matters to understand your options and obligations.

  2. Compliance and Reporting: Ensure that your company remains compliant with tax obligations, such as PAYG withholding and superannuation guarantee contributions. Timely and accurate reporting is crucial to avoid personal liability.

  3. Professional Guidance: Seek professional advice to navigate the complexities of Director Penalty Notices. Tax professionals can guide you through the process, negotiate with tax authorities, and help you find the best strategies to address the outstanding tax liabilities.

  4. Communication with Tax Authorities: Maintain open lines of communication with tax authorities and keep them informed of any challenges or difficulties your company is facing. Proactive communication can help establish a collaborative approach and potentially mitigate personal liability.

  5. Comprehensive Financial Planning: Develop a comprehensive financial plan to address the company’s tax debt and prevent future issues. This may include implementing sound financial management practices, ensuring cash flow adequacy, and exploring financing options, if necessary.

What are the consequences of not paying a DPN?

If you fail to pay the debt outlined in a DPN, the ATO can take enforcement action against you, including garnishing your wages, taking money from your bank account, or taking legal action to recover the debt. Additionally, your credit rating may be affected and you may find it difficult to obtain finance in the future.

How can Secured Lending help when a business has outstanding tax

We understand the complexities of tax debt for businesses and the potential benefits of short-term loans. Our experienced team is here to guide you through the process  and helping you explore suitable financing options to address your tax debt effectively. 

If you have been issued with a Directors Penalty Notice, check out our products to see if we can help, or alternatively, contact Secured Lending at 1300 795 175 or email info@securedlending.com.au

Keen to know more, check out how we have helped clients deal with Tax Debt.


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