Learn how to register a society, raise funds, and ensure annual compliances in India. Explore the comprehensive guide covering registration steps, required documents, timelines, annual compliances, consequences of non-compliance, and fundraising options with legal and tax considerations. Stay informed for transparent and accountable society operations.

Societies play a crucial role in the development of our society, especially in the areas of education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, and community development. However, to operate smoothly and effectively, societies need to be registered and comply with various legal requirements. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about society registration, compliances, and fund-raising options in India.

What is a society?

A society is a group of individuals who come together for a common non-profit objective, such as education, religion, charity, or any other public benefit purpose. Societies can be registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

Register a Society

Why register a society?

Registration gives legal recognition to a society, which means it can enter into contracts, own property, and sue or be sued in its name. It also ensures transparency and accountability in the functioning of the society.

Who can register a society?

A society can be registered by a minimum of seven people above the age of 18 years. These people must come together to form a governing body or managing committee for the society.

What is the process of society registration?

The registration process of society may vary from state to state but some steps are common in all states which involves the following steps:

1. Choose a name for the society.

2. Draft a memorandum of association and rules and regulations for the society.

3. Get the memorandum of association and rules and regulations signed by all members of the governing body.

4. Prepare a registration application form and attach the necessary documents, such as proof of address and identity of members and proof of ownership of the registered office.

5. Submit the application form to the Registrar of Societies in the state where the society is to be registered.

6. Pay the registration fees.

7. Wait for the Registrar to approve the registration application.

What are the documents required for society registration?

The following documents are required for society registration:

1. Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations of the society.

2. Proof of identity and address of all members of the governing body.

3. Proof of ownership or lease of the registered office.

What is the timeline for society registration?

The timeline for society registration varies from state to state. In general, it takes around 15-30 days to complete the registration process.

What are the compliances required for a registered society on Annual Basis?

Once a society is registered, it is required to comply with various legal and regulatory requirements. Some of the key compliances are as follows:

1. Maintenance of accounts: A registered society is required to maintain proper books of accounts and prepare annual financial statements.

2. Holding of Annual General Meeting (AGM): A registered society must hold an AGM every year to discuss its activities and approve its financial statements.

3. Filing of Annual Return: A registered society must file an annual return with the Registrar of Societies, which contains information such as the names and addresses of the members of the governing body, changes in the governing body, and any other significant changes in the society.

4. Renewal of registration: This condition may vary from State to State, however in General a registered society is required to renew its registration every five years.

What are the consequences of non-compliance?

Non-compliance with the legal and regulatory requirements can result in penalties, fines, and even cancellation of registration.

What are the fund-raising options available for societies?

Societies can raise funds from various sources, such as donations, grants, and sponsorships. Some of the popular fund-raising options for societies are:

  1. Donations: Societies can accept donations from individuals in lieu of giving them Section 80G deduction benefits to them, corporate in Form of CSR Grants, or any other entity interested in supporting their noble cause. Donations can be in the form of cash, cheque, online transfer, or any other mode of payment. But receiving cash donation above Rs.2000/- is not allowed as per Income Tax Act.
  1. Grants: Societies can apply for grants from various government bodies or non-profit organizations that support similar causes. Niti Aayog Registration may help you in Getting Government Grants.
  1. Fundraising events: Societies can organize fundraising events such as charity walks, music concerts, or auctions to raise funds.
  1. Crowdfunding: Societies can also use online platforms to raise funds through crowdfunding campaigns.
  1. Sponsorships: Societies can seek sponsorships from corporates or other organizations in exchange for promotional benefits or visibility.

What are the compliances required for fund-raising by societies?

Societies are required to comply with various legal and regulatory requirements while raising funds. Some of the key compliances are:

  1. Registration under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act: If a society receives donations from foreign sources, it is required to register under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.
  1. Tax compliance: Societies are required to comply with various tax laws, such as filing of income tax returns and obtaining tax exemptions, if applicable.
  1. Disclosure requirements: Societies are required to disclose all the details of the funds received and utilized in their annual financial statements.

Society registration, compliances, and fund-raising are crucial aspects for the smooth functioning of societies. It is essential to understand the legal and regulatory requirements and comply with them to ensure transparency and accountability in the functioning of the society. Societies have various fund-raising options available to them, but they must ensure compliance with the necessary regulations while raising funds, in case of default it may cost very high to Society as well as its Governing Body. In recent example, various FCRA Registrations are cancelled by department due to non compliances with FCRA Regulations.


Disclaimer: This article is for the purpose of information and shall not be treated as solicitation in any manner and for any other purpose whatsoever. It shall not be used as legal opinion and not to be used for rendering any professional advice. This article is written on the basis of author’s personal experience and provision applicable as on date of writing of this article. Adequate attention has been given to avoid any clerical/arithmetical error, however; if it still persists kindly intimate us to avoid such error for the benefits of others readers. The Author “CA. Shiv Kumar Sharma” can be reached at mail –shivsharma786@gmail.com and Mobile/Whatsapp–9911303737.

Author Bio

Qualification: CA
Company: Shiv Kumar Sharma & Associates
Location: Delhi, Delhi, India
Member Since: 03 Dec 2018 | Total Posts: 116
My Self CA. Shiv Kumar Sharma. I am a member of "The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India" since 2012. Currently, I am in Practice and dealing in Direct and Indirect taxation along with ROC Compliances. I am writing Articles for Taxguru.in, casansaar.com and in the expert panel of ca View Full Profile

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February 2024