The corporate number is a 13-digit unique identifier for every corporation in Japan. The National Tax Agency assigns this number and makes this information public along with the corporation’s trade name, address of its head office or its principal place of business. Because the number is accessible to the public, there are no limits to its range of use.
Understanding the Corporate Number in Japan
Objectives of the Corporate Number
The corporate number was created to fulfill the following objectives:
- Improve administrative efficiency – the corporate number helps to improve the management of information, improve the ease of exchanging corporate information and the efficiency of administrative tasks
- Administrative Convenience for Citizens – to coordinate the exchange of data among the various administrative offices and simplifying the application process in relation to these corporations
- Creating a fair and just society – facilitating the sharing of information to ease the link between payment and administrative functions such as taxation and social security system
- Creating value – there is no limit to the range of use of the number.
How it Works
Who gets the Corporate Number?
The Corporate Number is a 13-digit identification assigned by the Commissioner of the National Tax Agency to the following entities:
- Registered corporation
- National government agency
- Local public entity
- Corporations and associations
- Other juridical persons – subject to the fulfilment of eligibility criteria
More specifically, organisations who, under the tax law, need to submit documents such as the Notification of Corporation Establishment, Notification of Establishment/Relocation/Closure of a Salary-Paying Office, Notification about Becoming a Foreign Ordinary Corporation, etc., and those who need to file corporate and consumption taxes and need to withhold income tax on salary.
Designate, Notify, Publish
Each entity gets one Corporate Number. Registered corporations and government agencies do not have to go through the usual application procedures to obtain a Corporate Number. Once the number is assigned, the Commissioner of the National Tax Agency will notify in writing the concerned corporations of the existence of the number. The “Notification of Corporate Number” is sent to the corporation’s registered address.
Once the concerned corporation has been duly notified by mail, the Corporate Number along with the company’s name and business address is then published on the Internet for anyone to view and freely use.
It should be noted that corporations are assigned one Corporate Number. If a company has several branch offices, those branch offices or addresses are designated the same number.
After successfully setting up a business in Japan and incorporating a company you should apply for a number.
Where to View the Corporate Number of a Company
Corporate Numbers along with the corresponding company names and business addresses are published online on the National Tax Agency’s Corporate Number Publication site. The information is open to the public and anyone can download the data on this site.
In general, the Corporate Number is designed to improve operational efficiency. A single identifier for every corporation makes it easier to manage information among business partners and aggregating data across departments.
A Corporate Number also works as a standard identifier for every company allowing transactions between and among businesses to be more efficient. Data maintenance is easier because companies are identified by the same code at all departments. There is no need to translate one identifying code into another company’s own code.
With the variety of applications for the Corporate Number in both private and government sectors, business partners need only to rely on this common code to reduce the burden of maintaining several different company codes especially when trade names and addresses are changed. On a wider scale, the National Tax Agency issues the codes based on an international standard so that an organization’s Corporate Number remains unique globally.
With a globally unique code, e-commerce transactions between organisations in Japan and the rest of the world are easier to monitor. The company codes can also be used in automatic recognition media (e.g. RFID tags).
Japan’s Corporate Number allows for a more efficient transfer of information between the government and private sector and among businesses. The single unique identifier makes it easier to manage transactions between business partners, and implement e-commerce facilities that rely on company codes for tracking data. In the future, this unique code that is designed to follow international standards may be used for transacting with offshore businesses and managing records from these transactions efficiently.
Corporate Number FAQ
What is the Corporate Number?
This number is a 13-digit identifier that is assigned to each corporation or organization by Japan’s National Tax Agency. It is used in administrative processes such as tax, security and disaster control. The Corporate Number is considered public information so it can have applications in a number of fields in the private and public sectors.
Is the Corporate Number equal to the Tax Number?
Some countries assign a Tax Number or Tax ID to businesses but the system may differ across various jurisdictions in terms of how these numbers are used. For this reason, the Corporate Number may not necessarily be referred to as a Tax Number in every country. But if by Tax Number in a country, we mean an identifier used for tax-related transactions, then the Corporate Number can be equal to the Tax Number in that country.
Can somebody apply for the Number on my behalf?
Your company may appoint a representative to handle the paperwork to obtain the Corporate Number for your organisation.
Does the Corporate Number Publication Site have an English Version?
Yes, the Corporate Number Publication Site has an English version where you can look up information on Japanese corporations and their addresses. Through this site, a foreign corporation transacting with a Japanese company can confirm that the latter is established and reported in Japan.
Is the information on the English version of the site the same as the Japanese version?
The information on the Japanese version may not be equivalent to the English version of the Corporate Number site because only companies that voluntarily request to make their application registration in English are published.
Do I get a certificate in English?
The National Tax Agency sends a Notification of Corporate Number and not a certificate. Also, the notification will be in Japanese and not in English.
I tried searching for my client company on the English version of the Corporate Number site but I cannot find it. Does this mean the company is not legitimate?
There are a few reasons why you cannot find a particular company in the site:
- If your search result page states “No registration in English”, the corporation may not have been registered in English and you will probably need to switch to the Japanese version to verify it
- Please verify to make sure that the company name and/or Corporate Number is correct.
- You may be using an earlier version of the internet browser. The website supports Internet Explorer 9 or later, or other browsers such as Google Chrome or Firefox, a tablet PC or a smartphone.
The information on the site seems to be incorrect.
The information on the Corporate Number site is based on the data that the corporation provides on its application form when they request to register in English. For errors on information posted on the site, please contact the company directly. The National Tax Agency will not be responsible for the accuracy and integrity of English-translated information.
When a company changes address, is the published information in the English version of the website updated automatically?
As long as the corporation indicates that it wants the information on the Japanese version to be continuously used on the English page, the change will be updated on the site.
I cannot find the sole business proprietor I was searching for on the Corporate Number page.
Sole business proprietors are not eligible to receive a Corporate Number; therefore, they are not listed in the publication site.