Company Registration

What is Corporate Identification Number (CIN) of a Company?

What is Corporate Identification Number (CIN) of a Company?

What does CIN stand for?

CIN stands for Corporate Identification Number. It is an exclusive identification number that the Registrar of Companies (RoC) assigns, and it functions state-wise under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), Govt. of India.

Corporate Identification Number (CIN) is a unique number that holds a company’s identity and its additional information.

Thus, CIN is mandatory for all types of companies registered in India, and no company can function without a CIN.

The Corporate Identification Number is a 21 digit alpha-numeric number given to:

Corporate Identification Number stand for
  • Private Limited Company (PTC),
  • One Person Company (OPC),
  • Public Limited Company (PLC),
  • Section 8 Company,
  • Nidhi Company,
  • Producer Company,
  • Companies owned by Central or State Governments, and
  • Subsidiary of a Foreign Company (FTC).

This would be provided to the above, when it acquires registration from the Registrar of Companies (RoC) located in states across the nation.

What does the Corporate Identification Number consist of?

Corporate Identification Number consists of the following details:

  • Listing status
  • Industry Code
  • State Code
  • Incorporation Year
  • Ownership Status of Company
  • Registration Number.

Corporate identification Number is registered only to the registered office and its branches, subsidiary or manufacturing units can use the same for any dealing or communication (if applicable).

As per Section 12(3) (c) of the Companies Act, 2013[1] every company must display its CIN in the documents.

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The several important documents are:

  • Receipts
  • Invoices
  • Letterheads
  • Annual Reports
  • All e-forms on the portal of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs
  • Bill heads
  • Business letters.

Importance of Corporate Identification Number

Corporate Identification Number is used to track all the aspects of the company from its incorporation by the Registrar of Companies (RoC). It is required to provide all the transactions with the respective Registrar of Companies (RoC).

The CIN is of 21 digits and has its meaning, which has an easy interpretation and helps find its necessary information under MCA. This unique 21 digit can be used to track all the information which Roc and MCA holds. The CIN is also used during audits and presenting reports or any form submission under MCA.

Decoding the Corporate Identification Number (CIN)

Every Corporate Identification Number has the same format to make interpretation easy.

Let’s take an example to understand the format of CIN.

‘U 12345 DL 2020 PLC 123456’

The pattern to interpret the Corporate identification Number is as follows:

Decoding the Corporate Identification Number
  1. Listing Status

The first character reveals whether a company is listed or unlisted in the Indian stock market. If the company is listed, the CIN will begin with the letter ‘L’, and if the company isn’t listed, it will begin with the letter’ U’.

In the example above: U indicates that the company is unlisted in the stock market.

  • Industry Code

The next five digitsrepresent the ROC industry code. Every activity has a different 5-digit code, assigned by MCA and this code is used to identify the type of company. The MCA has assigned such codes to every industry carrying out its economic activities in India. A few examples are:

  • Hospitals- 85110
  • Real estate activities- 70200, etc.
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In the example above: 12345 refer to the industry code.

  • State Code

The next two letters represent the state code where company’s registered office is situated.

In the example above: DL refers to the state code, i.e., Delhi.

  • Incorporation Year

The next four digits is the year in which the company was incorporated.

In the example above: 2020 is the year of incorporation of the company.

  • Ownership Status of Company

The next three letters indicate the classification or type of company. Depending on the type of the company, the following abbreviations can be used in the CIN:

  • PLC: Public Limited Company
  • PTC: Private Limited Company
  • GOI: Companies owned by the Government of India
  • NPL: Not-for-Profit License Company
  • SGC: Companies owned by State Government
  • ULL: Public Limited Company with Unlimited Liability
  • ULT: Private Company with Unlimited Liability.

In the example above: PLC stands for Public Limited Company.

  • Registration Number

The CIN’s last six characters are numeric digits that indicate the unique registration number assigned by the concerned ROC. 

In the example above: 123456 refer to the registration number.

Procedure to obtain Corporate Identification Number

As per section 7(3) of the Companies Act, 2013, the Registrar of Companies (RoC), must allot a Corporate Identification Number (CIN) to the registered company. Therefore, as soon as a company is incorporated and allotted by the Registrar of Companies, the CIN is allotted to the company.

Circumstances under which CIN should be changed for your company

Although ROC issues the CIN in the name of the company when the company is registered, there are times when the CIN has to be updated.

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Under the following circumstances, the CIN number may require change:

  • In case of a change in the listing status in the stock market.
  • In case of a change in the state code.
  • In case of a change in the industry code.
  • In case of a change in the ownership status of the company.
  • In case of a change in the Registrar of Companies.

Penalty for non-compliance

There is a penalty of INR 1000 per day, if the requirements mentioned are not adhered to, on the company and its officer till the default continues. The maximum penalty is limited to INR 1, 00, 000.


CIN stands for Corporate Identification Number and it is mandatory for companies to have this 21 numeric code, issues by the Registrar of Office (RoC) of the states across the nation. CIN is a unique number used to determine all the necessary information of the company.

Thus, Corporate Identification Number (CIN) is mandatory for all types of companies registered in India, and no company can function without a CIN.

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