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What are the NGO or Non-profit laws of India?

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Non profit organisations can be registered in India as a Society, under the Registrar of Societies Act or as a Trust, by making a Trust deed. A third option is registration as a section-8 Company under the Companies Act, 2013 or section 25 (as old act).

Registering a Non Profit in India can be done in a total of five ways:

  1. Trust
  2. Society
  3. Section-8 Company
  4. Special Licensing
  5. Section-25 Company (old companies Act)

Whether a trust, society or section-8 company, the Income Tax Act, 1961 gives all categories equal treatment, in terms of exempting their income and granting 80G certificates, whereby donors to non-profit organisations may claim a rebate against donations made. Foreign contributions to non-profits are governed by FCRA regulations and the Home Ministry.

For an organisation to be termed as charity it requires Income tax clearances under 12 A Clause of Income Tax Act. Section 2(15) of the Income Tax Act defines ‘charitable purpose’ to include ‘relief of the poor, education, medical relief and the advancement of any other object of general public utility’. A purpose that relates exclusively to religious teaching or worship is not considered as charitable.

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