NGO- Trust/Society

NGO – Trust/Society- NGO is an organization constituted through legal means, operated by a legal person who works apart from government, apparently if NGOs are funded through government but it is barred from participating as to secure its non-governmental status. In India, NGO can be registered as a trust, society or a private limited non-profit Company. Individuals involved with NGOs generally serve in a fiduciary capacity and are committed towards broadcasting information.

Brief Background

Non-Governmental Organizations, commonly referred to as NGOs, operate without the aid of government, independently towards an aim regarding public welfare, should be registered as either Trust, society or company as it brings credibility and gives more exposure to the organization. With a wide range of agendas, NGOs operate at multiple levels. Being a non-profit organization, all the profits are utilized for the agenda and nothing is being distributed to the members.

NGO registration is mandatory and can be registered as either a Trust, Society or Company.

  • Indian Trust Act, 1882: When a trust wants to take the benefit of Tax Exemption scheme or is a part of the state under the Public Trust Act only then it is supposed to be registered, otherwise it is not obliged to get registered.
  • Societies Registration Act, 1860: It is more flexible in terms of rules and regulations as compared to Trust but that comes with the complicated formation with seven or more people coming in a group to form a society to get registered.


Private TrustTrust which are used for private purposes such as private institution running are governed under India Trusts Act, 1882. Other than private Trust there is public Trust, which is usually set up for charitable work and it is not governed under any law on the national level.


Society can only be formed with a minimum of 7 members and it should be registered with the state registrar of societies to be eligible for tax exemptions. These are members that are registered for charitable purposes and have a similar character to that of trusts, other than few differences, for example, a trust needs a minimum of 2 people whereas society needs 7, as mentioned above. These societies are governed under the Societies Registration Act of 

1860 which serves no criteria for the nationality of the committee members.


  • Credibility: Registration of NGOs brings credibility to the organization, getting more donations as it gives out a sense of authenticity because of the registration and hence it causes an effective goal achievement.
  • Exposure: It ensures an expanse in the exposure of the organization. It helps in expanding its area of operations.
  • More Resources: It helps in procuring more volunteers which will be indirectly beneficial for the NGO as it will lead to an increase in financial and manual resources.
  • Authenticity: NGOs need to be registered with the appropriate authority under required law to make it a legal entity, which in return gives NGO authenticity in the eyes of the society.


For Society:

For registration of an NGO – Trust/Society, duplicates of some documents along with registration fee needs to be submitted:

  • Rules and Regulation and MoA (Memorandum of Association), need not to be executed on stamp paper with duty.
  • On a stamp paper of Rs. 20, an affidavit by president or society secretary.
  • Consent letter from every managing committee member.
  • Declaration that the funds will only be used for implementing and executing its aims and purpose by the managing committee members.
  • Managing committee member’s signed authority letter.

For Trust

Some duplicates of the documents, along with registration fee, need to be submitted:

  • Names, Age, Address, Occupation, Phone Numbers, Email Address, and other details of the trustees along with address proof (Passport, Driving License, and Voter ID).
  • Ownership proof of the property by either electricity bill, water bill receipt, or house tax receipt.
  • In case the property is rented, rent deed with NOC from Landlord on a stamp paper of Rs. 10.


For Society

Following is the procedure for the registration of NGO – Trust/Society:

  • Name of the Society that is supposed to be used for NGO Registration.
  • 2 Copies of all the required documents along with registration fee need to be submitted with the Registrar of the Societies (Registrar that registered society) of the State where the society shall be placed.
  • An Incorporation Certificate with an NGO – Trust/Society Registration Number will be allotted after the careful and detailed examination of the documents, which takes around one month.

For Trust

  • Trust deed along with details of the Trustees i.e. Names, Address, Name of 3 Trusts, address of the registered Trust, the objective of TrustTrust, beneficiaries and rules and regulations of the TrustTrust.
  • Address proof either by electricity bill, telephone bill or property card.
  • Tenure of trustees in the contract
  • 12A certificate and 80G certificate application to the Registrar.

Other Information

An NGO to be registered as a Company, documents required and the procedure is:

  1. Procedure for Registration
  • For the proposed directors, apply for DSC and DIN.
  • Check for the availability of the name of the company which should be registered and applies for the name of the company.
  • Draft an AoA (Article of Association) and MoA (Memorandum of Association).
  • An individual who requires to incorporate the NGO under Section 8 of the Companies Act needs to make an application along with INC-12 form to the Registrar.
  • The certificate of the NGO registration should be issued after minute and complete check of documents by Registrar along with details and registration fee.
  1. Documents required
  • Directors’ Identity proofs, passport photographs and PAN Cards.
  • Address proof either by Telephone Bill, Electricity Bill, valid Passport, Driving License or Aadhar card.
  • Registered Office issued rent agreement or license agreement, along with the NOC and utility bills.




A “trust” is an obligation annexed to the ownership of property, and arising out of a confidence reposed in and accepted by the owner, or declared and accepted by him, for the benefit of another, or of another and the owner.

A trustee is entrusted with the responsibility to safeguard the interest of the beneficiary by the ‘author of the trust’. ‘Beneficiary’ is a person for whose benefit trust confidence is reposed or declared. The ‘interest’ of the beneficiary or ‘beneficial interest’ is a right against the trustee as owner of the trust property. The subject matter of the trust is called ‘trust property’ or ‘trust money’.

Trust in simple terms means, the responsibility assigned to the trustee to safeguard the interest of the beneficiary. The interest of the beneficiary is paramount. If the trustee breached any duty assigned to him, it is a breach of trust.


Trusts are of two types, ‘Private Trust’ and ‘Public Trust’. Private Trust is created for one or more certain numbers of the individual. It is created for private purposes. It is governed by the Indian Trust Act, 1882. It may be created by a will or a gift.

Public Trust is established to fulfill area concern public utility and floated where it provides for property especially dealing in land and buildings; also a form of NGO which has to be registered by Charity Commissioner Office having jurisdiction over it, making it eligible to opt for tax-exemption. There is no Central Legislation to govern Public Trust, however, some states have enacted legislative provisions to regulate Public Trust, for instance, Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950. Public trust is essentially charitable or religious trust. It may also be created by inter vivos or by will. NGO – Trust/Society


As per Section 5 of the Indian Trust Act, private trust in relation to immovable property must be created by a non – testamentary instrument signed by the author or the trustee and registered. Therefore, registration of trust is necessary when it is declared in non – testamentary instrument.

In the case of private trust declare by will or gift, registration will not be required in the case of immovable property or movable property as well.

In the case of Public Trust, registration of trust created in relation to movable and immovable property or whether created under a will or gift is not mandatory but desirable.


An application is made in Form 10A and in the prescribed manner to the Commissioner of Income Tax within one year from the date on which trust is created.

When the total income of the trust or institution, without giving effect to the provisions of Section 11 and 12 of the Income Tax Act,1961 exceeds Rs.50,000 in the previous year. The account and trust or institution is audited by the charted accountant or any other accountant entitled to be appointed as an auditor of companies.

In the case of Charitable or Religious Trust, for claiming an exemption under S’11 and S’12 of I T Act, 1961, it is essential that the instrument is duly registered. Therefore, registration is not mandatory but desirable.


Society is an association of seven or more person for literary, scientific and charitable and other purposes mentioned under S’20 of the Society Registration Act, 1860. By subscribing their name to the memorandum of association and filing the same with the registrar of Joint Stock Companies, they form themselves into a Society. These organizations are governed and maintained by the Society Registration Act, 1860 (SRA), unlike trust it can be dissolved and does not need to be executed on stamp papers like trust deed.. The main instrument for registration is MOA and rules and regulations wherein aims and object are enshrined. Registration of Society could be performed at either State or on the District level. Here also to gain the benefit of tax exemption under Income Tax Act 1961, society can get itself register with State Registrar of Society and can afterward acquire a certificate from Income-tax(IT) department, called as 12A, a donation to these societies are also exempted, for this a certificate named 80G has to be obtained from IT department. NGO – Trust/Society

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