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NGO Registration

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Online NGO Registration in India

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a pivotal role in addressing societal issues, driving positive change, and advocating for the underprivileged. The foundation of every impactful NGO lies in its legal establishment – a process known as NGO registration. This article serves as a comprehensive guide to navigating the intricacies of NGO registration in India, empowering aspiring changemakers to embark on their journey of social impact.

NGO registration is a legal process that endows organizations with the official status required to carry out philanthropic activities. It serves as a gateway to credibility, transparency, and various benefits, including tax exemptions. In India, NGOs can be registered under different legal structures, such as Trusts, Societies, or Section 8 Companies.

Types of NGO Registration in India

Following are the different types of NGO Registration in India:

  1. Trust Registration:

Process Overview:

  • Drafting a Trust Deed in compliance with the Indian Trusts Act, 1882.
  • Appointment of trustees and formation of a governing body.
  • Submission of registration documents to the Registrar of Trusts.
  • Obtaining tax exemptions under Section 12A and 80G.

Documentation Requirements:

  • Bill of electricity or water as address proof.
  • Identity proof of at least two trustees (Voter ID, Driving License, Passport, Aadhaar Card).

2. Society Registration:

Process Overview:

  • Drafting a Memorandum of Association (MoA) and By-laws in adherence to the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • Formation of a Governing Council.
  • Submission of registration documents to the Registrar of Societies.
  • Obtaining tax exemptions under Section 12A and 80G.

Documentation Requirements:

  • Name of the society.
  • Address proof of the office.
  • Identity proof of all nine members (Driving License, Passport, Voter ID, Aadhaar Card).

3. Section 8 Company Registration:

Process Overview:

  • Drafting the Memorandum and Articles of Association in accordance with the Companies Act of 2013.
  • Formation of a Board of Directors.
  • Submission of registration documents to the Registrar of Companies (ROC).
  • Obtaining tax exemptions under Section 8(1) and 12A.

Documentation Requirements:

  • Name of the Company for approval.
  • Address proof of the office.
  • Identity proof of all directors (Driving License, Passport, Voter ID, Aadhaar Card).

Difference Between Trust, Society, and Section 8 Company

CriteriaTrustSocietySection 8 Company
Legal FrameworkIndian Trust Act of 1882Societies Registration Act, 1860Companies Act, 2013
Main ObjectiveCharitable activitiesPublic welfare activitiesPromotion of science, arts, sports, etc.
MembershipTrusteesMembersShareholders
Governing BodyBoard of TrusteesGoverning CouncilBoard of Directors
Governing RulesTrust DeedMemorandum and By-lawsMemorandum and Articles of Association
Registration AuthorityRegistrar of TrustsRegistrar of SocietiesRegistrar of Companies (ROC)
Tax ExemptionSection 12A and 80GSection 12A and 80GSection 8(1) and 12A

Classification of NGOs in India

NGOs in India can be classified based on their orientation and level of operation:

  1. By the Level of Orientation:
  • Charitable Orientation
  • Service Orientation
  • Participatory Orientation
  • Empowering Orientation

2. By the Level of Operation:

  • Community-Based Organization
  • City-Wide Organization
  • National NGOs
  • International NGOs

Why Is NGO Registration Required?

  1. Credibility: Registered NGOs gain credibility, attracting donors, collaborators, and supporters. Registration lends authenticity to the organization’s mission.
  2. Operational Development: NGO registration enables local operations to expand, leading to greater exposure and increased community impact.
  3. Resource Expansion: The scope of financial and human resources expands as NGOs become eligible for income tax exemption, making them more appealing to potential volunteers and contributors.
  4. Tax Benefits: NGOs registered under the Income Tax Act of 2013 in India enjoy various tax benefits, contributing to financial sustainability.
  5. Asset and Liability Management: Registered NGOs can own assets, incur liabilities, and manage interest-earning claims, providing a solid foundation for organizational growth.
  6. Stamp Duty Exemption: Section 8 companies are exempt from stamp duty, offering additional avenues for tax savings and resource allocation.

Benefits of NGO Registration

The following are the benefits of NGO Registration in India:

  1. Tax Exemption: NGOs registered under Sections 12A and 80G of the Income Tax Act enjoy tax benefits, encouraging financial support.
  2. Asset Ownership: Registered NGOs can acquire, retain, and sell assets, enhancing financial stability and organizational capability.
  3. Transparent Financial Operations: Opening a bank account under the NGO’s name ensures transparency in financial transactions, instilling trust in donors and stakeholders.
  4. Enhanced Credibility: Registration elevates the credibility of NGOs, attracting collaborators and donors who prefer working with recognized and accountable entities.
  5. Stability and Succession: A registered NGO is perceived as more stable, with provisions for perpetual succession, ensuring sustained impact.
  6. Access to Credit: Registered NGOs can secure loans for various initiatives, broadening their financial capabilities and supporting expansion.
  7. Name Preservation: Registration protects the NGO’s name, preventing unauthorized use and safeguarding its brand and reputation.
  8. Bank Account Necessity: A registered NGO can convey transparency by operating through a corporate bank account, instilling confidence in donors and stakeholders.

Eligibility to Start an NGO

  • For private limited companies, a minimum of two directors is required.
  • Public limited companies mandate a minimum of three directors.
  • Private limited companies can have a maximum of 200 members, while there is no member limit for public limited companies.
  • No registration fee is required for NGOs.

NGO Registration Process

The following is the process for NGO Registration in India:

  1. Type Determination: Choose the suitable NGO structure – Trust, Society, or Section 8 Company – based on your organization’s objectives.
  2. Name Selection: Choose a unique name reflecting your mission.
  3. Drafting MoA and AoA: Prepare the Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  4. Governing Body Formation: Establish a governing body or managing committee.
  5. Registered Office Designation: Provide an official address for communication.
  6. Documentation Preparation: Gather required identity proofs, address proofs, and photographs.
  7. Registration Application Submission: Submit the application to the relevant authority – Registrar of Trusts, Registrar of Societies, or Registrar of Companies.
  8. Review and Approval: Await review, with possible clarification requests.
  9. Registration Certificate Obtention: Upon approval, obtain the registration certificate.
  10. Tax Exemption Application: Apply for tax exemptions under relevant sections.
  11. Compliance and Reporting: Adhere to statutory requirements, including accounts maintenance, annual returns filing, and audited financial statements submission.

Registration Fees

The registration fee varies based on the country, type of NGO, and governing body requirements. Additional expenses may include documentation, legal compliance, and regulatory requirements.

How to Raise Funds for NGOs?

  • Crowdfunding: Solicit small donations from a large audience through online platforms.
  • Grants: Apply for grants from government agencies, private foundations, and international organizations.
  • Corporate Partnerships: Partner with companies sharing your values for sponsorship and support.
  • Fundraising Events: Organize events like charity walks, concerts, auctions, or online campaigns to attract donors.
  • Individual Appeals: Appeal to individuals through online donation portals or direct outreach.
  • Social Media Outreach: Leverage social media platforms to create awareness and reach potential donors.

FAQs

1. What is NGO registration, and why is it necessary?

NGO registration is the legal process of officially establishing a Non-Governmental Organization. It is necessary for credibility, transparency, and access to various benefits, including tax exemptions. Registered NGOs are better positioned to attract donors, collaborate with stakeholders, and carry out philanthropic activities effectively.

2. What are the types of NGO registration structures in India?

In India, NGOs can be registered under three main structures:

  • Trust
  • Society
  • Section 8 Company

Each structure has its own set of legal requirements and benefits.

3. How is a Trust registered?

To register a Trust:

  • Draft a Trust Deed adhering to the Indian Trusts Act, 1882.
  • Appoint trustees and form a governing body.
  • Submit registration documents to the Registrar of Trusts.
  • Obtain tax exemptions under Section 12A and 80G.

4. What is the process for Society registration?

Society registration involves:

  • Drafting a Memorandum of Association (MoA) and By-laws in compliance with the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • Forming a Governing Council.
  • Submitting registration documents to the Registrar of Societies.
  • Obtaining tax exemptions under Section 12A and 80G.

5. How is a Section 8 Company registered?

To register a Section 8 Company:

  • Draft the Memorandum and Articles of Association in accordance with the Companies Act of 2013.
  • Form a Board of Directors.
  • Submit registration documents to the Registrar of Companies (ROC).
  • Obtain tax exemptions under Section 8(1) and 12A.

6. What is the difference between Trust, Society, and Section 8 Company?

The main differences lie in the legal framework, main objectives, membership, governing body, governing rules, registration authority, and tax exemptions. For example, a Trust is governed by the Indian Trust Act of 1882, focuses on charitable activities, has trustees, and is registered with the Registrar of Trusts.

7. Can NGOs be classified based on their orientation and level of operation?

Yes, NGOs can be classified:

  • By the Level of Orientation: Charitable, Service, Participatory, Empowering.
  • By the Level of Operation: Community-Based Organisation, City-Wide Organisation, National NGOs, International NGOs.

8. Why is NGO registration required?

NGO registration is required for credibility, operational development, resource expansion, tax benefits, asset and liability management, stamp duty exemption, and overall organizational stability.

9. What are the benefits of NGO registration?

Benefits include tax exemption, asset ownership, transparent financial operations, enhanced credibility, stability, and succession provisions, access to credit, name preservation, and the necessity to open a bank account.

10. What is the eligibility to start an NGO?

Eligibility criteria include a minimum of two directors for private limited companies, a minimum of three directors for public limited companies, and specific member limits. There is no registration fee for NGOs.

11. What is the NGO registration process?

The NGO registration process involves type determination, name selection, drafting MoA and AoA, governing body formation, designation of a registered office, documentation preparation, submission of the registration application, review and approval, registration certificate obtention, tax exemption application, and ongoing compliance.

12. How long does it take to register an NGO?

The timeline varies:

  • Section 8 Company: 10-14 days.
  • Trust: Approximately 20 days.
  • Society: About 25 days.

13. Are there fees associated with NGO registration?

Yes, registration fees vary based on the type of NGO, country, and governing body requirements. Additional expenses may include documentation, legal compliance, and regulatory requirements.

14. How can NGOs raise funds?

NGOs can raise funds through crowdfunding, grants, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, individual appeals, and social media outreach.

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