A society is an association of many persons who share a common interest with focus on achieving a common goal for the group. In India, the Society Registration Act, 1860 controls the society registration and further operation. The societies are registered and run under the said regulations to improve the humanities, sciences, literature or knowledge exchange for a good cause. Society registration is must in order to function properly.
In India, societies are primarily formed to carry out charitable purposes. For society registration in a particular state, the founding members must meet certain requirements outlined in the Societies Registration Act of 1860. To remain compliant, the society must also follow the post-registration regulations as specified by the competent authority.
What are the Benefits of Society Registration in India?
Society registration in India offers several advantages that contribute to the effective functioning of an organisation. Below are the major benefits of society registration:
1. Enhanced Recognition
Registration lends an official status to the society, establishing its credibility and authenticity. This recognition can help in building trust among members, stakeholders and the public.
2. Facilitated Fundraising
Registered societies often find it easier to raise funds from various sources, including government bodies, private donors and corporate entities. Donors are more inclined to contribute to registered entities due to their legal standing.
3. Tax Exemption on Society Registration
Registered societies can apply for tax exemption under Section 12A and 80G of the Income Tax Act. This benefit allows the society to receive donations and contributions without the burden of income tax, encouraging philanthropic support.
4. Improved Management
The process of registration necessitates the formulation of clear rules and regulations. This structured approach leads to better governance, streamlined decision-making and efficient management of the society's affairs.
5. Legal Protection on Society Registration
Registered societies benefit from legal recognition, which serves as a shield against unjustified claims or allegations. The legal framework provides a structured mechanism for addressing disputes and conflicts.
6. Asset Protection
Members of registered societies enjoy limited liability, ensuring that their personal assets are shielded from any potential financial liabilities or obligations of the society. This safeguards their individual properties and interests.
Objectives of Society Registration in India
Society registration in India serves various objectives, each designed to contribute positively to societal welfare and development. The following specific objectives are established during the society registration process:
1. Development of Fine Arts
- Societies play a vital role not only in engaging individuals in artistic endeavours but also in promoting and advancing various forms of fine arts within the community.
2. Education in Politics
- Another significant objective behind establishing societies is to engage in political activities and provide political education, encouraging informed citizenship and participation.
3. Assistance in Charity
- A significant purpose for forming societies is to facilitate charitable activities. Temporary societies are often established to raise funds for victims of disasters, such as floods, providing essential assistance during crises.
4. Promotion of Science and Literature
- A primary function of societies is to promote the growth of science and diverse literary forms within the Indian context, encouraging intellectual development and cultural enrichment.
5. Support for Military Orphans
- Societies are also formed to develop funds specifically dedicated to the well-being and support of military orphans, ensuring their welfare and future prospects.
6. Maintenance of Museums and Galleries
- Societies often play a vital role in the maintenance and upkeep of museums and galleries, ensuring the preservation of cultural heritage and providing accessible spaces for artistic appreciation.
7. Management of Libraries and Reading Rooms
- Societies extend their influence to the maintenance and management of libraries and reading rooms, ensuring easy access to knowledge and literature within the community.
What are the Essential Eligibility Criteria for Obtaining Society Registration?
The basic eligibility criteria for society registration in India includes the following:
1. Minimum Number of Individuals
A society can be formed by a group of seven or more individuals. These individuals should share a common interest or purpose, which could be related to scientific, literary, charitable endeavours or any objective specified under Section 20 of the Societies Registration Act.
2. Common Objective
The individuals forming the society must have a shared objective or purpose that falls within the permissible scope defined by the Societies Registration Act. This purpose could be scientific, literary, charitable or aligned with any of the purposes specified in Section 20 of the Act.
3. Memorandum of Association
The eligible individuals must collectively draft a MoA that outlines the society's objectives, mission and overall purpose. This document serves as a formal declaration of the society's intentions and goals.
4. Authorisation with Registrar
After drafting the MoA, the individuals must subscribe their names to it, signifying their agreement to the objectives outlined. This subscribed MoA is then authorised by the group and submitted to the Registrar of Joint-stock Companies.
Eligibility for Society Registration under Section 20 of the Society Registration Act, 1860
The Societies Registration Act of 1860 designates certain categories eligible for society registration under Section 20. The following entities and purposes are eligible for registration:
1. Charitable Societies
2. Societies established to manage and administer funds for the welfare of military orphans at different presidencies across India.
3. Societies established for the following purposes:
- Promotion of science, literature or the fine arts for educational purposes.
- Dissemination of useful knowledge.
- Propagation of political education.
- Establishment or maintenance of libraries or reading rooms accessible to members or the public.
4. Public Museums and Galleries including:
- Paintings and other artistic creations.
- Collections of natural history.
- Mechanical and philosophical inventions.
These categories, as outlined in Section 20, outline the diverse purposes and entities that can apply for society registration under the provisions of the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
What are the Documents Required for Society Registration in India?
Society registration in India involves the submission of specific documents, each playing a significant role in the process. Given below is a list of the required documents for society registration:
Cover Letter for Society Registration Request
For initiating the process, a cover letter is required. This letter formally requests society registration under the relevant legal provisions.
PAN Card of All Serving Members
Every serving member of the society must provide a copy of their PAN (Permanent Account Number) card. This ensures proper identification and is a key requirement for legal compliance.
Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association
The MOA outlines the society's objectives, while the AOA specifies the rules and regulations governing its internal operations. Both documents play an essential role in defining the society's purpose and structure.
Copy of Rules and Regulations
- The rules and regulations document provides detailed guidelines for the functioning, management and decision-making processes of the society. This document helps ensure organised and transparent operations. These rules must include the following key particulars:
- Regulation and Daily Operation: Clearly outline the rules and obligations that govern the operations and functioning of the Society on a daily basis.
- Membership Procedures: Define the procedures and requirements for obtaining Society's enrolment or securing membership, ensuring a transparent and accessible process.
- Conduct of Periodic Meetings: Lay out guidelines for conducting regular meetings, specifying the frequency, format and necessary protocols to be followed during these gatherings.
- Auditor's Information: Detail the responsibilities, roles and requirements related to the appointment and functioning of auditors responsible for financial oversight.
- Dispute Resolution Mechanism: Establish forms of arbitration to effectively address and resolve disputes that may arise between members of the Society, creating a harmonious environment.
- Dissolution Procedures: Specify the procedures and guidelines for the dissolution of the Society, outlining the steps, responsibilities and distribution of assets in such an event.
List of Society Members
A comprehensive list containing the names and details of all society members must be provided. This list gives an overview of the individuals associated with the society.
Affidavits of Office Bearers
Affidavits from the office bearers of the society are essential. These affidavits confirm their positions, responsibilities and commitment to the society's objectives.
Residential Proof of Members
Proof of residence for all society members is necessary. This verification establishes the residential addresses of the individuals involved. Acceptable residence proof documents include:
- Bank Statement
- Utility Bill (such as electricity, water or gas bill)
- Aadhaar Card
- Driving Licence
Alternatively, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the landlord can be submitted as proof of address.
What is the Process of Society Registration in India?
Registering a society in India involves a series of procedural steps to ensure legal recognition. Given below is the procedure for society registration in India:
Step 1: Submission of Application and Affidavit
Prepare the application for society registration in accordance with the prescribed format. Include all required documents, as mentioned earlier, along with an affidavit confirming the accuracy and authenticity of the information provided. This affidavit adds a legal commitment to the application.
Step 2: Draft Memorandum of Association and By-laws
Formulate a MOA that clearly outlines the society's objectives, purpose and key activities. Draft the By-laws that detail the internal regulations and governance structure. Both the MOA and By-laws should be duplicated and signed by at least three founding members.
Step 3: Board Resolution
Create a Board Resolution that demonstrates the unanimous consent of the founding members to establish the society. This resolution should be documented and signed by all members involved in the society's formation.
Step 4: Affidavit for Name and Address Confirmation
Prepare an affidavit on a stamp paper valued at Rs. 10. This affidavit should confirm the legitimacy of the society's chosen name and registered address. This step is significant for ensuring the society's authenticity.
Step 5: Payment for Registration
Complete the payment process for society registration as per the prescribed fee structure. This payment usually covers the administrative and processing costs associated with the registration process.
What is the Process of Renewal of Society Registration?
Renewing a society registration online involves specific steps that might vary based on the location of registration. These steps include:
Step 1: Check Renewal Deadline
- Before beginning the renewal process, verify the renewal deadline applicable to your society. Most societies are required to renew their registration either annually or bi-annually.
Step 2: Gather Required Documents
- Collect all essential documents, including the original registration certificate, bylaws and minutes of the annual general meeting. Additionally, prepare a current list of office bearers.
Step 3: Access the Online Portal
- Visit the online registration portal provided by the respective government authority responsible for society registrations.
Step 4: Log In to the portal
- Log in to the portal using the specific credentials associated with your society. These login details will be provided during the initial registration.
Step 5: Provide Society Details
- Fill in the required details, such as the society's name, registration number and current office information.
Step 6: Upload Documents
- Upload all the necessary documents in the prescribed format and size as indicated by the portal's guidelines.
Step 7: Payment of Renewal Fee
- Utilise the online payment options available on the portal to pay the renewal fee. Follow the payment instructions provided.
Step 8: Review and Submission
- Carefully review the entire application to ensure accuracy and completeness. Once verified, submit the application through the portal.
Step 9: Application Tracking
- After submission, you can track the progress and status of your application conveniently on the official website using the provided tracking mechanism.
What are the Compliances After Society Registration?
Once a society is registered, it is essential to adhere to various legal and regulatory requirements to ensure proper governance and compliance. Given below are the major compliances that a registered society should address:
1. Obtain PAN Card
The society must apply for a PAN (Permanent Account Number) card, which is essential for financial transactions and tax-related matters.
2. Open a Designated Bank Account
A bank account should be opened in the name of the society in a designated bank. This account will be used for managing the society's financial transactions.
3. Maintain Bookkeeping and Accounts
Accurate bookkeeping and maintenance of accounts are significant to track financial transactions, expenses and income. Proper accounting practices ensure transparency and accountability.
4. File Annual Income Tax Returns
The society is required to file its annual income tax returns with the appropriate authorities. This helps demonstrate the financial activities and tax liabilities of the society.
5. GST Registration (if Applicable)
If the society's activities involve the supply of goods or services and meet the GST threshold, GST registration is required. It enables the society to comply with Goods and Services Tax regulations.
6. Professional Tax Registration (if Applicable)
If the society has salaried employees, it might be required to register for professional tax and deduct the applicable tax from employees' salaries.
7. Compliance with Registrar of Societies (RoS)
The society needs to comply with the Registrar of Societies by filing annual reports, disclosing accounts and submitting the list of members. Additionally, resolutions from Annual General Meetings should be filed with the RoS.
8. Applicability of Tax Exemption
While societies are eligible for tax exemption, they must apply for 80G certification from the Income Tax authorities to avail such benefits. This certification allows donors to claim deductions for contributions made to the society.
What are the Services Offered by Startupfino for Society Registration in India?
Startupfino is a company that specialises in offering complete services for Society Registration and post registration compliances. We can aid with everything from providing advice in the beginning phase to ensuring that you meet all the necessary requirements and also keeping your society in good legal standing.
Our services include the below mentioned:
- Expert Guidance throughout the society registration process, ensuring a smooth and compliant procedure.
- Documentation Assistance in preparing and organising all necessary documents required for society registration.
- Strict adherence to the Societies Registration Act, ensuring legal compliance.
- Simplified Registration Process, saving you time and effort.
- Professionals to guide you in fulfilling all eligibility and documentation criteria.
- Post-Registration Support to manage compliances, filings and annual reporting.
- Transparency and Accountability to encourage trust among society members and stakeholders.