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Corporate Identification Number (CIN)

By Mayashree Acharya


Updated on: Oct 4th, 2023


11 min read

A Corporate Identification Number (CIN) is a unique identification number that is assigned by the Registrar of Companies (ROC) to the companies registered in India. The ROC gives the CIN to the companies while issuing their Registration Certificate.

The CIN is an important number as every company must mention this unique CIN in the forms to be submitted to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), particularly in audits and reports.

What is Corporate Identification Number (CIN)?

Corporate Identification Number (CIN) is a 21 digits alpha-numeric code issued to companies incorporated within the country on being registered by the ROC situated in different states across India under the MCA.

CIN is provided to all companies registered in India, which include:

However, CIN is not given to the Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) registered in India. For the LLPs, the ROC gives the LLPIN (Limited Liability Partnership Identification Number) that acts as a unique 7-digit identification number of the LLP. 

Importance of Corporate Identification Number

CIN is used for tracking all the aspects and activities of a company from its incorporation by the ROC and is required to be provided on all the transactions with the respective ROC.

The 21 digit CIN has its own meaning which is easily translatable and which helps in finding basic information relating to a company. It is used for finding the primary details of the companies which are registered within the country under MCA.

CIN is a unique number that can be used for identifying or tracking companies for several levels of information that ROC / MCA holds. The CIN contains the identity of an organisation and additional information regarding the registered company under the ROC. 

Example of a unique CIN issued by ROC – L01631KA2010PTC096843

Breaking down Corporate Identification Number

The 21-digits CIN represents and provides information about the company. The CIN can be broken down into six sections. In the above example, the CIN can be broken down as follows:

Section-1: The first character – L

Section-2: The next five digits – 01631

Section-3: The next two letters – KA

Section-4: The next four digits – 2010

Section-5: The next three characters – PTC

Section-6: The last six digits – 096843

Each section provides the following information:

  • Section-1: Consists of the first character of CIN that reveals whether a company is “Listed” or “Unlisted” on the Indian stock market. In other words, the first character implies the Stock Market listing status. In case a company is listed, the CIN would start with the letter ‘L’ and in case a company isn’t listed it would start with the letter ‘U’.


  • Section-2: Consists of the next set of five numeric digits that categorizes the economic activity of a company or to which industry the company belongs to. This classification is based on the nature of the economic activities which would be carried out by such an establishment. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has allotted a number to every category or industry.


  • Section-3: Consists of the next two letters that denote the Indian state where the company is registered. For instance, KA is for Karnataka, MH is for Maharashtra, DL is for Delhi, etc. It works in a similar fashion as the car registration number.


  • Section-4: Consists of the next set of four numeric digits that signifies the year of incorporation of a company.


  • Section-5: Consists of the following three letters that denote the company classification. These three letters help to identify whether a company is a private limited company or a public limited company. If the CIN number here is FTC, it would mean that such a company is a subsidiary of any foreign company or if it’s GOI, it would imply that such company is owned by the Indian Government.


  • Section-6: Consists of the remaining six numeric digits that denote the registration number provided by the respective Registrar of Companies (ROC).

Abbreviations in CIN number

The abbreviations used in the Section-5 of the CIN are as follows:

  • FLC: Financial Lease Company as Public Limited
  • FTC: Subsidiary of a Foreign Company as 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 (Section 8 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

Usage of Corporate Incorporation Number

Every company that is established in India needs to quote its Corporate Identification Number on various documents which include:

  • On invoices, bills and receipts
  • On notice
  • On memos
  • On letterheads
  • Annual Reports and audits
  • Every e-form submission on the MCA portal
  • Company’s official publications
  • Any other company publications

Penalty for Non-compliance of Mentioning CIN

In case the above-mentioned requirements aren’t adhered to, there’s a penalty of INR 1,000/day on the defaulting company and on its, every officer is in default, till such default continues. However, the maximum penalty for this default is limited to INR 1,00,000.

Changing Corporate Identification Number

CIN which is provided to every registered company for the purpose of identification can be changed in certain cases such as:

  • Any change in the listing status of a company
  • Any change in the location or change of state where the company’s registered office is situated
  • Any change in the industry/sector to which a company belongs

Frequently Asked Questions

How to apply for CIN?

A CIN is an alphanumeric number allotted to the company on the date of its registration by the Registrar of Companies. The company’s CIN is mentioned in its Certificate of Incorporation. Thus, a CIN number is automatically allotted to the company when it is incorporated and approved by the Registrar of Companies.

How do I find a company’s CIN?

You can find a company’s CIN from the MCA website by following the below process:

  • Go to the MCA website.
  • Click on the ‘MCA Services’ tab on the home page. 
  • Click on the ‘Check CIN’ option from the drop-down list under the ‘Company Services’ option. 
  • Select the ‘Search Based on Existing Company / LLP Name’ option.
  • Type the company name under the ‘Existing Company’ option, enter the captcha code and click on the ‘Search’ button.
  • The company’s CIN will be displayed.

Is CIN allotted to LLP?

No. A CIN is allotted to a registered company, and LLPIN (LLP Identification Number) is allotted to a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) by the Registrar of Companies. Thus, CIN is allotted only to companies registered under the Companies Act, 2013, not LLPs.

Are CIN and GST the same?

No. A CIN is the identification number allotted to registered companies by the Registrar of Companies at the time of issue of the company registration certificate. On the other hand, GSTIN is the identification number issued to companies and businesses registered under the GST law. Hence, both are different and have different functions.

Is CIN mandatory to be mentioned on the company’s invoices, bills, and receipts?

Yes. As per section 12(3)(c) of the Companies Act, a company must print its name, address of its registered office and the CIN in all its business letters, billheads, letter papers, notices and other official publications. Thus, a company must mandatorily mention its CIN on its bills, invoices, receipts and e-mails sent to outside parties.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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Quick Summary

Corporate Identification Number (CIN) is a 21-digit code assigned to companies registered in India by the Registrar of Companies (ROC) under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). It is crucial for tracking company activities and must be mentioned in all official documents. CIN includes sections indicating company details like listing status, industry classification, state of registration, and more. Non-compliance with CIN mentioning incurs penalties.

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