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NGO Registration Online - Overview

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a crucial role in driving social change and promoting the welfare of society. In India, NGOs can be registered under different legal structures, including Trusts, Societies, and Section 8 Companies. Each registration type offers specific benefits and obligations, making it essential to understand the nuances of each option before deciding which one best suits your organization’s objectives.


We will explore the process and benefits of NGO registration in India. We will also delve into the various types of NGO registration, the NGO classification, the required documents, and the step-by-step procedure for registration. So, let’s get started!

Types of NGO Registration in India

NGOs in India can be registered under three primary legal structures:

Trust Registration

A Trust is a form of non-profit organization (NPO) established to assist and support specific causes such as education, healthcare, and community development. The Indian Trusts Act of 1882 governs trusts.

Society Registration

Societies are groups of individuals who come together to achieve common goals or objectives. They are formed to promote charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, or social causes. Societies are registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860.

Section 8 Company Registration

Section 8 Companies, also known as Non-Profit Companies or Non-Governmental Companies (NGOs), are registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. They are established to promote commerce, art, science, religion, charity, or any other functional object without the intention of making a profit.

Difference Between Trust, Society & Section 8 Company

Classification of NGOs in India

NGOs in India can be classified based on two primary factors: the level of orientation and the level of operation.

By the Level of Orientation:

Charitable Orientation: NGOs with a charitable orientation focus on providing assistance and support to individuals or communities in need.

Service Orientation: NGOs with a service orientation aim to deliver specific services to meet the needs of their target audience.

Participatory Orientation: NGOs with a participatory orientation involve the active participation of individuals or communities in decision-making processes and program implementation.

Empowering Orientation: NGOs with an empowering orientation focus on empowering individuals or communities to become self-reliant and take charge of their own development.

By the Level of Operation:

Community-Based Organization: These NGOs operate at the grassroots level, serving a specific community or locality.

City-Wide Organization: City-wide NGOs operate within a city or urban area, addressing broader issues that affect the entire city population.

National NGOs: National NGOs operate at the national level, addressing social issues and advocating for policy changes on a larger scale.

International NGOs: International NGOs operate across national borders, addressing global issues and providing assistance and support to communities in different countries.

Benefits of NGO Registration

NGO registration offers numerous benefits that contribute to the credibility, legal recognition, and operational efficiency of an organization. Let’s explore the key advantages of NGO registration in India:

Tax Exemption: Registering your NGO under the Companies Act, 2013, enables you to avail several tax benefits. NGOs are exempt from various taxes, allowing the organization to save money on taxes and utilize the saved funds for further projects.

Right to Acquire Assets: Registered NGOs have the legal permission to acquire land, own fixed assets, and acquire liabilities under their common seal. Unregistered organizations are prohibited from buying, holding, or selling land.

No Minimum Share Capital Requirement: NGOs can function independently without any minimum share capital requirement. They can be directly funded through charitable contributions, eliminating the need for a substantial share capital.

Protection from Personal Liability: By registering assets and stakes in the name of the NGO, individuals involved are protected from personal liability in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as foreclosure, bankruptcy, or divorce.

Transfer of Ownership: NGOs registered under the Companies Act, 2013, are not restricted from transferring ownership or interests earned, as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Corporate Entity: By registering as a corporate body, NGOs can enhance their transactions and engagements with the community. They can sue to enforce their legal rights or be sued through their registered trustees.

Exemption on Stamp Duty: Section 8 companies as NGOs are exempted from stamp duty under the Income Tax Act. This results in additional tax-saving opportunities for the organization, allowing the saved taxes to be invested in furthering the organization's objectives.

Structured Financial Plan: NGOs registered under the Companies Act enjoy a tax-free mechanism for their activities. Being considered non-profit and tax-exempt, NGOs can develop a structured financial plan that allows them to engage in business activities without tax liabilities.

Stability of Entity: Registration of an NGO signifies effective and responsible leadership. The public perceives registered organizations as more stable than unregistered ones. Political parties, governments, donor agencies, financial institutions, charity organizations, and other NGOs are more likely to partner with a registered body to achieve common objectives.

Perpetual Succession: NGOs enjoy unlimited lifetime and continue to exist even if the founders or trustees pass away or leave the organization. The organization's continuity ceases only if it is formally wound up by a court order.

Admission to Credit: Registering an NGO enables access to credit from lenders and financial institutions. NGOs can utilize loans to promote their activities, finance mortgages, acquire land or fixed assets. Banks usually require proof of registration before providing loans.

Name Preservation: Once an NGO is registered, no other entity can use the same name or a similar name throughout India. This ensures the protection of the NGO's corporate image and name from unauthorized use.

Opening Bank Account: Opening a corporate account for the NGO signals transparency and professionalism. It allows individuals, government agencies, donor organizations, and other NGOs to write checks to the organization in its official name, enhancing transparency and accountability.

Documents Required for NGO Registration

The documents required for NGO registration vary based on the chosen legal structure. Here is a list of the essential documents for each type of registration:

For Trust Registration:

For Society Registration:

For Section 8 Company Registration:

Procedure for NGO Registration

The registration process for NGOs in India varies depending on the chosen legal structure. Here is a step-by-step overview of the registration procedure for each type:

Trust Registration Procedure:

Select an Appropriate Name: Choose a unique and appropriate name for the trust that complies with the provisions of the Emblems and Names Act, 1950.

Draft the Trust Deed: Prepare the trust deed, which contains all the essential information related to the registration. The trust deed must be submitted to the registrar at the time of registration.

Select Settlers and Trustees: Choose the settlor and trustees for the trust. There is no specific provision regarding the number of settlers, but a minimum of two trustees is required to form a trust.

Prepare Memorandum of Association: Formulate the Memorandum of Association (MoA) as it represents the charter of the trust.

Pay the Requisite Fees: Pay the necessary fees for trust registration.

Collect a Copy of Trust Deed: After submitting the necessary documents, collect a certified copy of the trust deed from the registrar's office.

Submit the Trust Deed to the Registrar: After obtaining the certified copy of the trust deed, submit the original registered copy of the trust deed to the registrar along with properly attested photocopies.

Obtain the Registration Certificate: After submitting the trust deed, the registrar will keep the photocopy and return the original registered copy of the trust deed to the applicant. The registration certificate will be issued within seven working days.

Society Registration Procedure:

Choose a Unique Name: Select a unique name for the society that is not similar to any existing registered entities.

Prepare the Memorandum of the Society: Draft the Memorandum of Association (MoA) and the Articles of Association (AoA) of the society, which outline the objectives, rules, and regulations governing the society's operations.

Prepare the Required Documentation: Gather the necessary documents, including identity proofs, address proofs, and photographs of the society's members.

File the Registration Application: Submit the registration application along with the required documents to the Registrar of Societies in the respective state.

Review and Approval: The registration authority will review the application and supporting documents. They may seek additional information or clarification, if necessary.

Obtain the Registration Certificate: Upon successful review and approval, the registration authority will issue a registration certificate, confirming the legal status of the society.

Section 8 Company Registration Procedure:

Apply for Digital Signature Certificate (DSC): Obtain a digital signature certificate (DSC) for affixing digital signatures on the online registration forms.

Apply for Director Identification Number (DIN): Apply for a Director Identification Number (DIN) for the proposed directors of the section 8 company.

Reservation of Name: Apply for the reservation of the company's name through the SPICe+ form on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) portal.

Prepare the Memorandum and Articles of Association: Draft the Memorandum of Association (MoA) and Articles of Association (AoA) of the section 8 company.

File the Incorporation Forms: File the SPICe+ Part A and Part B forms along with the necessary attachments, including the MoA, AoA, and other required declarations.

Payment of Fees and Pre-Scrutiny Check: Pay the requisite fees and undergo a pre-scrutiny check of the incorporation forms.

Obtain the Certificate of Incorporation: If the Registrar finds the information and documents appropriate, they will issue a Certificate of Incorporation, confirming the formation of the section 8 company.


Registering an NGO in India provides numerous advantages, including tax exemptions, legal recognition, access to funding, and enhanced credibility. By understanding the different types of NGO registration, the required documents, and the step-by-step registration process, organizations can navigate the registration procedure smoothly and establish themselves as legitimate entities.


Whether you choose to register as a Trust, Society, or Section 8 Company, it is essential to comply with the relevant laws and regulations to ensure the long-term sustainability and success of your organization. By obtaining the necessary certifications and adhering to ongoing compliance requirements, NGOs can continue their valuable work in driving social change and improving the lives of individuals and communities.


If you are considering starting an NGO in India, consult with legal experts to understand the specific requirements and obligations associated with your chosen registration type. With the right guidance and support, you can establish a legally sound and impactful organization that contributes positively to society.


NGOs can be categorized based on their areas of focus and objectives. Common types include charitable organizations, educational institutions, healthcare initiatives, environmental NGOs, cultural and religious groups, and those addressing social and humanitarian issues.

The minimum number of members required to register an NGO in India varies depending on the chosen legal structure. For Trusts, a minimum of two members is typically required. Societies typically require a minimum of seven members. Section 8 Companies need a minimum of three directors.

Yes, a government employee can become a trustee in an NGO. However, they must adhere to any rules and regulations governing their employment that might affect their participation in the NGO.

Yes, a government employee can become a trustee in an NGO. However, they must adhere to any rules and regulations governing their employment that might affect their participation in the NGO.

Yes, non-resident Indians (NRIs) are allowed to become trustees in Indian trusts. The specific requirements and eligibility criteria may vary depending on the trust’s objectives and the legal structure.

Trustees of an NGO can be compensated for their services, but it should be in accordance with the trust’s regulations and objectives. The compensation should be reasonable and aligned with the organization’s goals.

Yes, NGOs in India are typically required to have their accounts audited annually. The specific audit requirements may vary depending on the legal structure and the amount of funding received.

To access government funding for your NGO, you’ll need to identify relevant government schemes and programs that align with your organization’s mission. Then, follow the application procedures outlined by the respective government department or agency responsible for the funding.

The requirements for an office or landline vary based on the legal structure and the specific regulations of the state where you are registering the NGO. Some states may require a registered office address, while others may not have such strict requirements. It’s essential to check the specific regulations in your state and the legal structure you are opting for to determine if an office or landline is mandatory.

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