June 21, 2023
Durga Prasad

A Guide to Non-Profit Making Organizations in India

Non-Profit Making Companies, also known as Section 8 Companies, have played a crucial role in promoting charitable, educational, and social welfare activities in India. While the concept of such organizations is not new, the Companies Act of 2013 has provided a robust framework for their incorporation and functioning.

Advantages of Section 8 Companies:

Section 8 Companies offer several advantages for individuals and organizations looking to establish non-profit entities. Some of the key advantages include:

1. Limited Liability: Like any other company, Section 8 Companies provide limited liability protection to their members. This means that the personal assets of the members are separate from the company's liabilities.
2. Separate Legal Entity:
Section 8 Companies are considered separate legal entities, distinct from their members. This enables them to enter into contracts, own property, and sue or be sued in their own name.
3. Perpetual Succession:
Section 8 Companies enjoy perpetual succession, meaning that they continue to exist even if the members change. The death, resignation, or insolvency of members does not affect the company's continuity.
4. Lesser Compliances:
Compared to other types of entities like trusts and societies, Section 8 Companies have relatively fewer compliance requirements. The Companies Act of 2013 provides a unified set of regulations applicable across the country.
5. Easy Share Transfer:
Section 8 Companies can issue shares, and the transfer of shares is relatively easy. This allows for flexibility in raising funds and attracting investors.
6. Various Tax Benefits:
Section 8 Companies are eligible for tax benefits under different sections of the Income Tax Act, such as Section 12A and Section 80G. These benefits incentivize donations and contribute to the financial sustainability of non-profit activities.

Procedure for Incorporating a Section 8 Company:

The process of incorporating a Section 8 Company involves the following steps:

1. Application for Name Availability: Submit an application to the Registrar of Companies (ROC) for the availability of a name. It is advisable to provide three alternative names in case the initial choice is rejected.
2. Drafting Memorandum and Articles of Association:
Prepare three copies of the proposed company's memorandum and articles of association. These documents should be signed by all the promoters and comply with the provisions of the Companies Act.
3. Declaration and Promoters' Details:
Include a declaration by a lawyer or tax accountant confirming the compliance of the documents with the Act's provisions. Also, provide a list of promoters' names, addresses, and occupations, along with details of the proposed board of directors.
4. Description of Assets and Liabilities:
Furnish a detailed description of the company's assets and liabilities at the time of application. This includes an estimate of projected annual revenue and expenditure.
5. Application to Regional Director:
After confirming the name availability, submit a written application to the regional director of the company law board. This application should be accompanied by all the necessary documents.
6. Notice Publication:
Publish a notice in a local newspaper, both in a principal language and in English, within a week of filing the application. This notice serves to invite objections or complaints from the public.
7. Evaluation and License Issuance:
The regional director evaluates any objections received and may seek additional information if necessary. After due consideration, the regional director decides whether to issue the license for the Section 8 Company.

Compliances for Section 8 Companies include:

1. Annual General Meeting (AGM): Section 8 Companies are required to hold an AGM within six months from the end of the financial year. The AGM should be conducted to discuss and approve financial statements, appoint auditors, and address any other important matters.
2. Financial Statements:
Section 8 Companies must prepare and file annual financial statements, including the balance sheet, profit and loss account, and cash flow statement. These statements should be audited by a qualified auditor.
3. Income Tax Returns:
Section 8 Companies are obligated to file income tax returns annually with the Income Tax Department. They must comply with the tax regulations applicable to non-profit organizations and claim any eligible tax exemptions or deductions.
4. Statutory Registers and Records:
Section 8 Companies must maintain various statutory registers and records, including the register of members, register of directors, minutes of meetings, and books of accounts. These documents should be kept up to date and made available for inspection when required.
5. Compliance with Accounting Standards:
Section 8 Companies should follow the accounting standards specified by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). These standards ensure transparency and consistency in financial reporting.
6. Filing of Annual Returns:
Section 8 Companies are required to file annual returns with the Registrar of Companies (ROC). The annual return includes details of the company's activities, financial performance, and changes in directors or registered office address.
7. Regulatory Approvals:
If a Section 8 Company wishes to alter its memorandum or articles of association, it needs to obtain prior approval from the ROC. Similarly, any significant changes in the company's objectives or activities may require approvals from relevant regulatory authorities.
8. Compliance with Charitable Laws:
Section 8 Companies engaged in charitable activities must comply with the relevant charitable laws and regulations. This includes maintaining proper records of donations received, utilizing funds for charitable purposes, and obtaining necessary approvals for specific projects or initiatives.
9. Compliance with Foreign Contribution Regulations:
If a Section 8 Company receives foreign contributions, it needs to comply with the provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. This involves obtaining registration or prior permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs to receive and utilize foreign funds.
10. Annual Compliance Certificates:
Section 8 Companies are required to obtain an annual compliance certificate from a practicing company secretary. This certificate confirms that the company has complied with all the statutory requirements during the year.


In conclusion, Section 8 Companies play a crucial role in promoting social welfare and advancing charitable activities in India. These non-profit organizations enjoy certain privileges and exemptions under the Companies Act, but they also have specific legal compliances to fulfill. By adhering to the legal requirements, Section 8 Companies can maintain transparency, accountability, and credibility in their operations. It is essential for Section 8 Companies to conduct their affairs in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act, Income Tax Act, and other relevant laws. This includes holding annual general meetings, preparing financial statements, filing tax returns, maintaining statutory registers, obtaining necessary approvals, and complying with charitable and foreign contribution regulations. Failure to meet these obligations can have legal consequences, including penalties and the potential loss of registration.


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