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Everything to know about the CIN (Corporate Identity Number)

5 Jun 2019

Starting a business is more than just an idea, a product or a service that you think will work. In order to standardize things and bring transparency, every government forms certain rules and regulations that every business person has to adhere to. One of them is registering your business as a company and getting the Corporate Identity Number, commonly known as the CIN number of a company.

If you are on your way to form a company, it is important that you know all about the CIN number of your company for smooth transactions within the legal boundaries.

To begin with, let’s understand the types of business structures that are most common in India.

Types of Business Structures in India

  • One Person Company (OPC): Introduced in 2013, it is one of the best ways to start a company if there exists only one promoter or owner as it enables a sole-proprietor to carry on his/her work and still be part of the corporate framework.
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): It is a separate legal entity where the liabilities of partners are only limited to their agreed contribution.
  • Private Limited Company (PLC): Here, the company is regarded as a separate legal entity from its founders in the eyes of the law. Individuals such as the shareholders (stakeholders), directors (company officers), etc. are regarded as employees of the company.
  • Public Limited Company (PLC): It is a voluntary association of members incorporated under the company law and has a separate legal existence. Here, the liability of its members are limited to shares they hold.

Registering a company with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs is largely dependent on the type of business structure you choose. It is also crucial that you always opt the one that suits your business requirements.

What is Corporate Identity Number?

The ROC (Registrar of Companies) of various states under the MCA (Ministry of Corporate Affairs) assign the Corporate Identification Number. Every Indian state except in North Eastern States and Union Territories has at least one ROC that ensures every company complies with the statutory requirements under various government rules and acts prior and after incorporation. The ROC is primarily responsible for change of company names, any action that needs to be taken against default companies, conversion of companies from private to public, etc.

This unique identification number of a company is a 21 digits alpha-numeric code to every company that has been incorporated within the country. This code helps reveal the identity and basic information of the company and track all aspects of the company. The CIN also helps in finding the authenticity of the business.

Apart from Private Limited Company (PLC) and Public Limited Company (PLC), a few other classifications under the ROC in India are,

  • Financial Lease Company (FLC),
  • Subsidiary of a Foreign Company (FTC),
  • General Association Public (GAP),
  • General Association Private (GAT),
  • Companies owned by Govt. Of India (GOI),
  • Section 8 Company or Not For Profits License Company (NPL),
  • Public Limited Company (PLC),
  • Companies owned by State Govt. (SGC),
  • Public Limited Company with Unlimited Liability (ULL),
  • Private Limited Company with Unlimited Liability (ULT),
  • Nidhi Company,
  • One Person Company (OPC),
  • Producer Company, etc.

CIN number example

Importance of Corporate Identification Number

The easily translatable 21 digits alpha-numeric code that forms the CIN has its own meaning which helps in finding primary details of a company, track all the aspects of a company, and is also required to be provided on all transactions for several levels of information which ROC / MCA holds. It is therefore imperative to ensure that your company has one.

Format of Corporate Identification Number

The 21 digits alpha-numeric code that forms the CIN is further divided to know about the companies in detail.

  • First character of CIN: Implies the Stock Market listing status of a company as U for unlisted status and L for listed status.
  • Next set of 5 numeric digits: Categorizes the economic activities of a company. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) allots a number to every category or industry, such as 85110 for hospitals, 70200 for real estate activities on a contract basis, 72211 for production, supply, and documentation of ready-made software, and so on.
  • Next two letters: Similar as the car registration number denotes the Indian state where the company is registered.
  • Next set of 4 numeric digits: Signify the year of incorporation of the company.
  • Next three letters: Denote the company’s classification such as FTC for a subsidiary of a foreign company, GOI implies that the company is owned by the Indian Government, SGC stands for companies that belong to the State Government, and so on.
  • Last 6 numeric digits: Denotes the registration number provided to the company by the respective Registrar of Companies (ROC).

Places where CIN must be mentioned

A company’s CIN must be mentioned in the following documents:

  • Receipts
  • Invoices
  • Letterheads
  • Notice
  • Annual Reports
  • Every e-form on the MCA portal
  • Other publications

Penalty for Non-compliance

A penalty of INR 1000/day is levied on the businessperson who do not adhere to CIN requirements. However, the maximum penalty is INR 100,000.

How to get Corporate Identification Number (CIN)?

If you are wondering about how to apply for CIN number for your company in India, the good news is that CIN is automatically allotted once the company is incorporated and the ROC – Registrar of Company approves it.

In case of the following cases, the CIN of your company must be changed:

  • When you change the listing (Listed or Unlisted) status of your company
  • When you change the location or the State of your company’s registered office
  • When you change the sector/industry of your company

Best ways to find the Corporate Identification Number

To check your company’s registration number or the Corporate Identification Number online, simply visit the website for the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

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