Corporate Identification Number (CIN)

January 09, 2023


CIN or Corporate Identification Number is a unique identification numeric sequence assigned to registered companies in India by a registrar of companies popularly known as ROCs. The Corporate Identification Number is an important recognition symbol that holds the ground for a company’s identity and comes in handy while the company is under audit. When providing company reports, the identification number must be mentioned in the documents submitted to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). Moreover, the last six digits of a CIN denote the Company Registration Number (CRN).

CIN Full Form and Decoding

As discussed, the expansion of the abbreviation, i.e. CIN, is Corporate Identification Number. Understanding the CIN a bit more deeply, we come to the reverse engineering of the digits and what they represent. The identification number incorporates majorly six sections. Here are the following observations.

  • CIN is a 21-digit alphanumeric pattern. This means that the sequence is a combination of alphabets and numbers. The ROCs assign the Corporate Identification Number to respective companies.
  • The first character mainly represents whether a particular company is listed or unlisted in the stock market. The letters include ‘L’ and ‘U’, which means ‘Listed’ and ‘Unlisted’, respectively.
  • The following five characters are numbers that denote the categories the company is engaged in. It is the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) that has created a listing based on the classification of the companies’ activities.
  • The subsequent two letters represent the state where the company is registered, similar to vehicle registration across India.
  • The next four characters represent the year of incorporation of the company.
  • The following three characters define the type of the company. This classification includes private or public companies, foreign subsidiaries, or government entities.
  • The last six characters of the Corporate Identification Number represent the CRN, i.e. the Company Registration Number.

An example of a CIN number is – U 12345 DL 2020 PLC 098765.

Importance of Corporate Identification, Number

One of the primary purposes of a CIN number is assigned to companies for tracking and monitoring the activities in terms of financial transactions, income statements, cash flow, etc. Moreover, these are regularly tracked from the company’s incorporation by a Registrar of Companies. Furthermore, if any authorities need information pertaining to any company, they can easily do so with the help of a Corporate Identity Number. These details will be as listed under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

How to Get the CIN Number?

A company can easily get its CIN number by following the below steps.

  • Head over to the MCA’s official website.

MCA Home page

  • On the home page, users should navigate to the MCA Services section
  • Look for the ‘Find CIN’ option under the Company Servies tab and click on the same.
  • There will be an option to search the company CIN based on ‘Existing Company / LLP’
  • Enter the company name and proceed with the security checks.
  • The users will be presented with their company’s Corporate Identity Number.

CIN Website


Terminologies in CIN Number

There are specific terms and abbreviations used in a Corporate Identity Number context. It can be helpful for anyone to be aware of these terms when required to use the CIN number. The details are as listed below.

Abbreviations Full Forms
FLC Financial Lease Company as Public Limited
FTC A subsidiary of a Foreign Company as a Private Limited Company
GAP General Association Public
GAT General Association Private
GOI Companies owned by the Government of India
NPL Not-for-Profit License Company
OPC One Person Company
PLC Public Limited Company
PTC Private Limited Company
SGC Companies owned by State Government
ULL Public Limited Company with Unlimited Liability
ULT Private Company with Unlimited Liability

Where is the Corporate Identification Number Used?

A Corporate Identity Number is used on documents such as invoicing, business transaction receipts, bills, etc. Moreover, one can find the CIN Number on memos, letterheads, notices, or any company’s publications to establish an identity so that anyone on the receiving end can track the company’s profile. However, the primary usage of a CIN number still rests with appearing on the audit reports, annual reports, and e-submissions on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs e-portal.

Penalty for Non-Compliance

Getting a Corporate Identity Number is an essential step in the incorporation process, overseen by the Registrar of Companies. A corporate entity necessarily gets its CIN number assigned to them, without which it may incur hefty penalties. Generally, companies have to pay an amount of INR 1000 per day till they can get their CIN number sorted. Moreover, the upper limit has been restricted to INR 1,00,000.

When To Change Corporate Identification Number

Given that CIN numbers are allotted as per their status concerning classifications, they can be changed in case of any transition of the company’s profile. Moreover, when the company changes their location of operation, the section of CIN, which denotes the registration state, also should be changed. Lastly, if any company is planning to change their industry or specialization, it must get its CIN number changed. These scenarios, as mentioned above, call for a change in the Corporate Identification Number of a company. All the requests for changes can be addressed with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs e-portal.

Is CIN and GSTIN the Same?

When registered, companies are assigned a corporate identity number which is not the same as a GSTN. Under the GST regulations, companies are separately assigned a Goods and Service Tax number when registering for the GST structure. The latter is majorly for businesses in replacement of the Tax Identification Number assigned to them by state tax authorities under the VAT structure. As the term suggests, the primary purpose is to track a company’s taxes.

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Vimal Vijayan is a major in Philosophy with a background in Music, Artistry, Research, and Teaching. More often than not, he is as confused as a cow on an astroturf but oddly that's just his strategy for staying lazy. Also, he likes to play Chess. Fin.

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