Trust registration in India- An overview
Public Trust is the most convenient way of starting a non-governmental organization or NGO. A trust functions on the objective of eradicating poverty, providing education to the underprivileged and offering medical relief apart from the generalized aim of promoting arts, science and literature. It is to be noted that trusts are irrevocable which means they cannot be amended or terminated without the permission of the court.
In India, there are no specific laws to govern the public trust, however, some states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have their own public trust Act.
Trust registration in India- The complete process
As an initial step in registering the trust, the founder of the trust or the “Author of the Trust” or the “Settlor of the Trust” has to figure out in a document the objectives of the trust and the manner in which the trustees have to work towards achieving the goals of the Trust. This document that contains all such details is called a Trust Deed, which is also called a deed of trust.
Once this is made, thereafter, an application for registration of the trust shall be moved before the Registrar of Trust along with the Trust Deed or a deed of trust. The appropriate jurisdiction for registration of the trust is usually where the registered office of the trust is located.
Content of the Trust Deed
The trust deed is the primary and the most essential document of the trust which states the reason for forming a trust, its functions, to its working, and until its closure. Following are the important clauses in the Trust Deed:
- Name of the trust
- The registered office of the trust
- Area of operation of the trust
- Objectives of the trust
- Details of the Author of the Trust
- Corpus/Assets of the Trust
- Details of the Board of Trustees
- Quorum of the Board with their qualification, terms and tenure
- Powers and functions of the Managing Trustee and other Trustees
- Closure and amendment of the trust deed and the applicability of the Act
Documents Required for trust registration certificate
To get your trust registration certificate, you should require the following documents during the registration of the Trust:
- A completely drafted trust deed
- Proof of registered office – (Rental Agreement or ownership document)
- ID proof of the Founder of the Trust
- Two witnesses
Constitution of the Trust
The Trust constitutes the Board of Trustees. The Board constitutes the following:
- Author/Founder/Settlor of the trust
- Managing trustee(s)
- Other trustees
The quorum of the Board of Trustees shall not exceed a maximum of 21 members.
Why register a trust?
- As per the Public Trust Act of all states, registration of Trust is mandatory if it involves charitable purpose or when there is a transfer of immovable property in the name of the trust.
- Only registered trust is eligible for tax exemptions provided under Section 12 A and 80G of the Income Tax Act.
- Registering a trust adds more credibility to the same as it involves public money in the form of donations.
A trust shall after its registration shall do the following
- Obtain PAN card
- Book Keeping and Accounts
- Annual IT filings
- Shops and Establishment License – in case of employment
- Professional Tax Registration – if applicable
- GST registration – if applicable
Applicability of tax exemption
There is a general notion that trust need not have to pay tax as they work towards the welfare of the public at large. But this is not true. A trust, like any other legal entity, is liable to pay tax. In order to be exempted from tax, trust is required to obtain certification for the said exemptions such as Section 12 A, 80G etc. from the Income Tax authorities.
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