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Step 1

Submission of Application to the Registrar along with essential documents and affidavit

step 1
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Step 2

Drafting of MOA plus Board resolution showing the consent of the founding members

step 2
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Step 3

Grant of Certificate of Registration after payment of requisite fees

Overview of Society Registration

Societies in India are primarily constituted for the fulfilment of charitable objectives. To register a society in a respective state, the founding members must comply with specific conditions as cited under the Societies Registration Act of 1860. Once registered, the society has to follow the post-registration norms as directed by the competent authority to stay compliant. 

What is a Society as per Societies Registration Act, 1860?

Society refers to an institution in which a group of individuals with common interests collectively act together to serve some functions. Such societies are ruled by the Societies Registration Act of 1860, and the said Act is subjected to amendments. The provisions for society registration are cited under the said Act. Societies in India are usually formed for meeting charitable goals. Albeit registration of these institutions is not mandatory, it is ideal to obtain the same for better recognition and growth.

Objectives served by Society as per Governing Legislation

Society registration is required to advocate the science, fine arts, literature, or knowledge sharing for the charitable matter. Moreover, Society may also come to effect to maintain a commercial or residential complex or establish the Apartment Association.

As per Section 20 of the Society Act, 1860, a society can be registered for the given purposes:

  • Promotion of fine arts.
  • Distribution of political education.
  • Grant of charitable assistance.
  • Creation of military orphan funds.
  • Promotion of science & literature.
  • Foundation or maintenance of reading rooms or libraries.
  • Foundation or maintenance of galleries or public museums.
  • Collections of natural history.
  • Diffusion or Promotion or instruction of purposeful knowledge.
  • Collections of philosophical & mechanical inventions, designs, or instruments.

Benefits of Society Registration in India

  • Better recognition
  • Fundraising becomes easier
  • Tax exemption
  • Ensure better management
  • Ensure legal fencing against prejudice charges
  • Ensure nil risk exposure to member's properties

Eligibility Criteria for obtaining Society Registration

Any seven or more individuals associated for any scientific, literary, or charitable purpose, or for any such purpose as is mentioned under Section 20 of Societies Registration Act of 1860, may, by subscribing their names to MoA and authorizing the same with the Registrar of Joint-stock Companies form a society under the said Act.

Mandatory Documentations for Society Registration

Following are some mandatory documents required for Society Registration

  • PAN Card of all the serving members
  • Residence Proof of all serving members such as;
  • Bank Statement
  • Utility Bill
  • Aadhaar Card
  • Passport
  • Driving License
  • MOA and AOA
  • Rules and Regulations of the Society

Covering Letter A covering letter reflecting Society's proposed objective should be affixed to the application for society registration. It must enclose the signature of all founding members.

  • Proof of Address

A copy of the evidence of address where the Society's registered office shall be located along with a NOC from the landlord, if any, must be attached.

  • List of all Members

A listicle of all serving members of the governing body must be disclosed along with their signatures.

  • Declaration

A declaration must be provided by the Society's president clarifying that he is competent to hold the said post.

Mandatory Enclosures of Memorandum of Association (MoA)

The MoA of the Society has to be drafted, and it should enclose the given particulars and clauses:

  • The proposed undertaking and objectives of the Society
  • The details relating to the serving members intending to set up the Society
  • The names, contact detail and occupation of all the council, directors, governors, committee, or other governing bodies accountable for dealing with Society's management affairs.

Rules and Regulations of the Society

The Rules and Regulations of the Society have to be drafted, and they must reflect the following particulars.

  • Rules and obligations by which the undertaking of the Society will be regulated and the maintenance of the daily operation
  • Rules for obtaining Society's enrolment or securing membership
  • Rules concerning the conduct of the periodic meeting
  • Auditor's information
  • Forms of Arbitration for resolving disputes between the Society's members
  • Rules for Society's dissolution

Please note the drafted rules and regulations can be amended from time to time with the permission of key members and officials of the Society.

All the said documentations have to be furnished to the Registrar of Societies along with the standard fees in 2 copies. Upon receiving such an application, the registrar shall enclose his signature in the first copy as acknowledgement and revert it while keeping the second copy for approval.

Upon apt inspection of the documentation, the registration shall grant the certificate of incorporation by assigning a registration number to it.

Process of Society Registration 

  1. Submit the application along with the affidavit in a standard format with aforesaid documents to the concerned Registrar
  2. Draft a Memorandum of Association (MOA) and By-laws in the duplicate enclosing signature of three founding members. 
  3. Draft, a Board Resolution, reflecting the consent of founding members for constituting the society 
  4. Draft an affidavit on stamp paper worth Rs 10 regarding the confirmation about the legitimacy of society’s name and address
  5. Make the payment regarding the registration 

Society compliances post registration

A trust shall, post-registration, shall address the following legalities:

  • Secure PAN card
  • Open a bank account with designated bank
  • Bookkeeping & accounts
  • Annual Income T filings
  • GST registration, if applicable
  • Professional tax registration, if applicable
  • Compliance with the RoF - Filing of Annual General Meeting resolution, accounts to be disclosed, & member list to be filed with the RoFs.

Applicability of tax exemption

There is a general misconception that registered Society does need not address any tax liability. However, that is not the case; like any other legal entity, Society is accountable to pay taxes. The Society must obtain 80G certification from IT authorities to avail exemption.

Frequently Asked Questions

A society comes into existence when a pool of individuals jointly works for a common purpose or a charitable cause. A minimum of 7 Indian nationals can form a society in India as per the 'Societies Act, 1860.'

The Societies Registration Act refers to legislation under which a society is legalized & formed by MOA.

'Societies Act, 1860' defies the concept of society incorporation by the family members.

A society empowers its founding members to sell the property of a society only if the seller pays standard fees & address the liabilities of the society. The transfer fee, entry fee or membership fee are common expenses that a seller needs to address to make the property's transfer successful.

In Maharashtra & Gujarat, the registered society can also operate as a trust under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950.

The consent of three-fifths of the members of the society is enough to initiate the winding-up procedure of the society.

The Societies Registration Act, 1860, was enacted to better the legal implications of society's registration. Further, it seeks to foster literature, fine arts, or science to spread insightful knowledge for charitable purposes.

MOA of registered society entails the signature of the founding members along with the seal of the concerned authorities.

No, unregistered societies do not have access to such rights.

They are not allowed to perform their undertakings outside the scope of obligations mentioned in the charter documents.

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