What is a CIN number?
Corporate Identification Number, commonly known as CIN number, is a 21 digit alpha-numerical code that is uniquely provided to One Person Company, Public Company, Private Company, limited liability partnership, governmental organizations government companies, non-governmental organizations, not for profit organizations and so on which are registered by the Registrar of Companies. According to section 12(3)(c) of the Companies Act, 2013 “Every company shall get its name, address of its registered office and the Corporate Identity Number along with telephone number, fax number, if any, e-mail and website addresses, if any, printed in all its business letters, billheads, letter papers and in all its notices and other official publications;”
The CIN number is provided by the Registrar of Companies (ROC) to exclusively identify a company which is controlled and regulated by each state under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) and Government of India. Details regarding companies which are registered in India under MCA can be accessed through the official website of MCA www.mca.gov.in.
CIN number consists of important details of registration of the organization:
- Listing status, whether listed or not listed
- Industry code
- State Code
- Year of incorporation
- Registration number
How to interpret a CIN number
Every CIN number has the same format to make interpretation easier. The arrangement of details of every CIN number follows the same pattern by dividing the number into 6 aspects of the company which is:
- LISTING STATUS – The listing status of a company in the stock market can be identified by the first letter of the CIN code. If the letter is L, then it means the company is listed, and if the letter is U, then it means that the company is not listed or unlisted.
- INDUSTRY CODE – The second part of the CIN number, after the listing code (L or U) is the Industry code which is represented by 5 numbers according to the industry of the company as per Registrar of Companies Industry Code. The industry codes are categorized into section, division, group, class and then sub-class. For example: 50200 is the industry code for maintenance and repair of motor vehicles where in Section G that deals with “wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and personal and household goods” in which Division 50 is with respect to “sale , maintenance and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; retail sale of automotive fuel”, group 501 and sub-group 5010 deals with “Sale of motor vehicles (includes wholesale and retail sale of new and used passenger motor vehicles and lorries, trailers and semi trailers).”
- STATE CODE: The third aspect covered by the CIN number is state code of the state in which the company was incorporated. The state code usually has 2 characters placed generally in the 7th and 8th positions of a CIN number respectively. For example, state code of Tamil Nadu is TN, Maharashtra is MH, Kerala is KL, Karnataka is KA, etc.
- YEAR OF INCORPORTATION: The next detail mentioned in the CIN number is the year of incorporation which is positioned from the 9th to the 12th place of the CIN number as all the 4 digits of the year are mentioned. For example, 1947, 1985, 1999, 2015, 2020, etc.
- OWNERSHIP STATUS OF THE COMPANY: After the year of incorporation, a CIN number mentions the type of ownership which is generally in 3 alphabets which occupy the 13th, 14th and 15th position of the CIN number respectively. The following is the list of abbreviations used for the kind of companies according to their ownership status:
- Private Limited Company – PTC
- Public Limited Company – PLC
- Companies owned by Government of India – GOI
- Companies owned by State Government – SGC
- Financial Lease Company (as Public Limited) – FLC
- General Association Public – GAP
- General Association Private – GAT
- Not For Profit License Company – NPL
- Public Limited Company (unlimited liability) – ULL
- Private Limited Company ((unlimited liability) – ULT
- Subsidiary of a Foreign Company – FTC
- REGISTRATION NUMBER: Finally, the CIN number consists of 6 characters in numbers of the registration number of the company provided by the Registrar of Companies on the event of registration. The numbers are placed from the 16th to the 21st position of the CIN number after the ownership status of the company.
For example, a company with CIN number L21091KA2019OPC141331 means the company is a listed company, is involved in manufacture of paper hoops and cones, has been registered in the state of Karnataka in the year 2019, is a one person company and having a registration number ‘141331’ provided by the Registrar of Companies.
How to obtain CIN for your company
Section 7(3) of the Companies Act, 2013 states “On and from the date mentioned in the certificate of incorporation issued under sub-section (2), the Registrar shall allot to the company a corporate identity number, which shall be a distinct identity for the company and which shall also be included in the certificate.” Therefore, a CIN number is automatically allotted to the company when it is incorporated and approved by the Registrar of Companies.
Under what circumstances CIN should be changed for your company?
The CIN of your company must be changed under the following circumstance:
- When there is a change in the listing status of the company in the stock market, from listed (L) to unlisted (U) or vice-versa.
- When there is a change in the state in which the company’s registered office is located.
- When there is a change industry that the company had been dealing with since it had been incorporated.
- When there is a change in the ownership of the company, like from One Person Company to a private limited company, etc.
- When there is a change in the Registrar of Companies.
How to track CIN of your company
CIN number of a company can be tracked in the official website of Ministry of Corporate Affairs by choosing the “Find CIN” option as under MCA services. The direct link to find CIN is http://mca.gov.in/mcafoportal/findCIN.do. In the website, you can find CIN number on choosing whether the organization is a company or limited liability partnership, and based on any of the following:
- Registration number; or
- Existing Company’ name or the name of the Limited Liability Partnership; or
- Inactive CIN; or
- Name of old company or the name of the Limited Liability Partnership
After filling out the required details, you need to enter a captcha code, and click on search.
In which documents is it required to mention CIN number
A company’s CIN must be mentioned in several important documents including:
- Annual Reports
- All e-forms on the portal of Ministry of Corporate Affairs
- Emails to parties who are not a part of the company
- Publications such as journals, books, periodicals, financial results, etc.
- Bill heads
- Business letters
If the CIN is not mentioned in important documents business letters, billheads, letter papers and in all its notices and other official publications as necessitated by section 12(3) of the Companies Act, 2013, then there is a penalty of Rs. 1000 per day for non-compliance till the day such default continues, but the penalty cannot exceed Rs. 1,00,000, as mentioned in section 12(8) of the Act.