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NGO Registration in India

NGO Registration in India

NGO/ NPO: Non-Governmental Organization or Not for Profit Organisation is an organisation which is incorporated for the promotion of commerce, art, science, sports, education, research, social welfare, religion, charity, protection of environment or any such other object; such organisation intends to apply its profits or other income in promoting its objects.


In India NGO can be registered as any of the three forms of entity:


  1. Section 8 Company As per Company Act, 2013
  2. Trust under The Indian trusts Act, 1882
  3.    Society under Societies Registration Act, 1860


Section 8 Company:

In India, a Section 8 Company is a type of nonprofit organization registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013 (previously Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956). These companies are established for promoting various charitable, educational, scientific, religious, or other similar purposes, and they intend to apply their profits, if any, towards promoting these objectives.

Trust under the Indian trusts Act, 1882

A trust is a legal arrangement governed by the Indian Trusts Act, 1882. It's a mechanism used to manage assets or property for specific purposes, often for charitable or philanthropic objectives. To establish a trust as an NGO, individuals or entities interested in philanthropic or charitable activities can create a trust structure by drafting a trust deed that clearly defines the objectives and functioning of the trust.

Society under Societies Registration Act, 1860

An Indian legislation enacted to facilitate the registration of societies for various charitable, literary, scientific, and other purposes beneficial to society It is formed by a group of individuals (seven or more) who come together with a common goal or objective. They draft a memorandum of association and rules and regulations for the society.

Summary of differences of these entities are given below:


Section 8 Company

Trust under Trust Act 1882

Society under Societies Registration Act 1860


Incorporated as a company under Companies Act

Created by a trust deed

Formed by a group of individuals with common objectives


Charitable, scientific, educational purposes

Charitable, religious, educational purposes

Charitable, literary, scientific, or similar objectives

Legal Status

Separate legal entity from its members

Trust does not have a separate legal identity

Becomes a separate legal entity upon registration


Managed by a board of directors

Governed by trustees appointed in the trust deed

Managed by a governing body or council elected or appointed

Minimum Member

Minimum 2 directors and shareholders. Directors and Shareholders can be the same person.

At least two trustees are required to register a public charitable trust

Minimum Seven members are required for formation of state level society


Members have limited liability

Trustees or beneficiaries have no personal liability

Members have limited liability


Annual compliances under Companies Act

Fewer statutory obligations

Compliance requirements as per Societies Registration Act

Registration Authority

Registrar of Companies (RoC)

No formal registration required under the Trust Act

Registrar of Societies

Minimum Capital Requirement

No minimum capital requirement

No specific requirement

No minimum capital requirement

Utilization of Profits

Profits applied towards objectives, not distributed

Income utilized for trust purposes

Surplus utilized for society's objectives, not distributed

Tax Exemptions

Eligible for tax exemptions under Income Tax Act

Eligible for tax exemptions as per tax laws

Eligible for tax exemptions under certain conditions

Each of these entities serves nonprofit purposes but differs in terms of their formation, legal structure, governance, compliance, and the way they operate and fulfil their objectives. The choice among them depends on various factors aligned with the organization's vision, operational scale, structure, and compliance preferences.


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