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NGO Registration Service in India– An Overview

An NGO is a non-government organization with a charitable objective, for the betterment of the society in general. It can be started as a Trust, a Society or a Non-Profit Company [Section 8 Company], depending on the activity you wish to undertake.

In India, NGO is an umbrella term for all non-profit organizations including Trust, Society and Section 8 Company. Other names for such not-for-profit organizations are "Sangathan", "Sangh", "Sangam". Income tax exemption is available for all non-profit NGOs.

These are sometimes confused with non-profitable companies, which refers to a regular business is not making a profit.

At Actolegal, we will help you select the right option and guide you through the entire NGO registration process.

Why register an NGO in India?


  • A registered NGO gains the legal status and becomes accountable for the funds received. For instance, when an individual donates funds to a charitable trust, it is received under the name of the organization and used for the trust’s activities. In an unregistered firm, the assets can be received under anyone’s name and may be used for their own profit.
  • An organization that is registered as an NGO reinforces the ethical, social and legal norms of our society.
  • The basic requirement for running an NGO is to have a bank account under its name. In order to open an account, it is mandatory to be registered as a Trust, Society or Section 8 Company.
  • The registration of an NGO is necessary to seek tax exemption from the Income Tax Authority.

Registration of NGO in India


One of the ways in which an NGO can be registered is Trust or more commonly called Charitable trust. Trust is a legal entity created by the “trustor” or “settlor” who transfers the assets to the second party or “trustee” for the benefit of the third party or “beneficiary”. Trusts are formed to help and support the deprived sections of the society. Any group of individuals can register a trust and in India as such there are no specific laws to govern the public trust, however, some states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have their own Public Trust Act.


A society is an entity that can be created by a group of individuals united in their cause for promoting science, arts, literature, social welfare and useful information. In addition, societies work for creating military orphan funds, maintaining public museum and libraries.

Societies are governed by the Societies Registration Act, 1860. They must be registered with the respective state Registrar of Societies to be eligible for tax exemption.

Section 8 Companies

A Section 8 company is similar to a trust and society. The objectives of a Section 8 Companies are to promote arts, science, commerce, sports, social welfare, religion, charity and environmental protection. They are registered under the Companies Act, 2013 for charitable purpose. They have better credibility among government bodies, donors and other stakeholders.

NGO Registration Methods in India - Trust, Society, or Non-profit Company [Section 8 Company]

A Detailed Process

In India, anybody is free to do social activities without forming an association or organization. But when an individual wants to create a group that involves volunteers, activities, and resources, it becomes important to have proper management in place. To run such companies, trusts and Societies in the correct manner, a certain set of rules need to be followed.

Acts governing NGO registration process

Each law defines the formation of a different type of organization, namely – Trust Registration, Society Registration, and Section 8 Company Registration. Choosing the kind of registration procedure for the charitable firm is crucial. Our experts will help select the suitable option that befits your vision and guide you with the online registration process.

Essential documents for online society registration & trust registration certificate

Before a registered deed is delivered to an NGO, submission of specific documents is required.

Trust Registration

For the trust registration, the following papers are mandatory:

  • A bill of electricity or water stating the address that needs to be registered.
  • The identity proof of at least two members of the company. The proof can be:
      Voter ID
  • Driving License
  • Passport
  • Aadhaar Card

Once the payment for the registration is done, it takes about 8 to 10 days for online registration to be completed under the Indian Trust Act – 1882. Before the deed becomes valid throughout the country, the settler has to deliver a presentation at the registrar’s office.

Note:On the scheduled date for registration, the Author of the Trust shall be present in the Register Office for registration

Society Registration

For a society registration, the following papers are essential:

  • The name of the society.
  • Address proof of the office.
  • Identity proof of all the nine members which can be:
    • Driving License
    • Copy of Passport
    • Voter ID
    • Aadhaar card
    • Two copies of the Memorandum of Association and By-laws of the society.

    Note:Once the payment for the registration is done, it takes about 8 to 10 days for drafting the MoA and By-laws of the Society. Thereafter it takes 21 to 30 days for the Society to be registered.

    Section 8 Company:

    For a Section 8 company registration, the following papers are essential:

    • The name of the Company for approval.
    • Address proof of the office. It can be electricity or water bill or house tax receipt.
    • Identity proof of all the Directors which can be:
        Driving License
    • Copy of Passport
    • Voter ID
    • Aadhaar card The Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association of the Company.

    Note:Once the payment for the registration is done, it takes about 8 to 10 days for drafting the MoA and AoA of the Society. Thereafter it takes about 2 months for the entire Company registration to be completed.

    FAQ about NGO