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Trust Registration

How to Register a Religious Charitable Trust

Discover the step-by-step process of registering a religious trust in India, emphasizing church registration. A concise guide, including online registration details

What Is a Religious Charitable Trust?

  • A Religious Charitable Trust is a charitable organization that is registered under the Indian Trusts Act, of 1882. It is a legal entity that can be created by an individual, family, religious group, or any other body corporate and operated for the benefit of its beneficiaries. A Religious Charitable Trust can be used to carry out a wide range of charitable activities including education, health, social welfare, and environmental conservation.
  • To register a Religious Charitable trust in India, there are a few steps that need to be followed. The first step is to submit an application form to the registrar of trusts in your state or territory. Once the form has been submitted, the registrar will send you a notification confirming that your application has been received and will inform you of the next steps that need to be taken. The next step is to submit copies of all relevant documents, including proof of identity and address. Once all the documents have been submitted, the registrar will send you a certificate confirming that your religious charitable trust has been registered.

Benefits of Registering a Religious Charitable Trust

A Religious Charitable Trust (RCT) is a type of charitable organization in India. It was created to provide tax-deductible donations to religious organizations or schools. An RCT can also offer other benefits such as donor anonymity and accelerated donation deductions.

Trust Registration

How to Register a Religious Charitable Trust in India

If you are looking to set up a religious charity, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you will need to determine the types of trusts you want to create. There are three types of religious trusts that can be registered with the Indian government: general charitable trusts, special religious trusts, and religious endowments. Second, you will need to gather information about the trust’s beneficiaries and their eligibility requirements. Finally, you will need to file the trust’s registration application with the Indian government.

How to Set up the Board of Directors for a Religious Charitable Trust in India

Getting started: The first step is to gather together a board of directors. This is likely to be a difficult task, as many religious organizations will be reluctant to relinquish their control over their trust assets. It’s important that the board members are independent and have expertise in charitable trusts and philanthropy.

Registration: Once you’ve assembled a board of directors, you’ll need to register your trust registration with the relevant government agencies. This process can involve submitting documentation including an approved constitution, by-laws, and financial statements. Make sure you have all of this ready before starting the registration process so that it runs smoothly.

Who Can Be on the Board of a Religious Charitable Trust in India?

  • In India, a religious charitable trust can be formed by any individual or institution that satisfies the statutory requirements. The Trustee Board should be constituted in accordance with the provisions of the Trusts Act, 1956, and comply with other applicable laws. The Trustee Board should have at least three members who are not relatives of the settlor and must have knowledge and experience in matters relating to charitable trusts.
  • The trustees should also be competent in English and Hindi. They should also have no direct or indirect interest in the management of the trust.
  • The trust deed should provide for representation on the Trustee Board from both Dalits (formerly known as untouchables) and women. A special provision must also be made for a representative from minorities, e.g., Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, etc.

Common Mistakes and Issues Related to Trust Registration in India

There are a few things to keep in mind when registering a religious charitable trust in India: 

  • The charity must be registered with the government as a nonprofit organization.
  • The name of the trust should be unique, and it should not duplicate any other existing entity or charity in India.
  • The trust must have an authorized representative who is duly authorized by the trustees to act on their behalf.
  • The trust must file annual income tax returns with the government and make public disclosure of its financial information.
  • The charity must comply with Indian tax laws and regulations.

Amendments Related To Charitable Trust Organisations

Recent regulatory amendments addressing charitable trust organisations signify a significant evolution in the legal framework governing these entities. These changes, likely prompted by the need for adaptability and relevance, aim to refine and modernise the regulations that govern how charitable trusts operate.

When a trust or institution is registered under Section 12AB and wishes to fulfill its application criteria, it can achieve this by making donations. However, only 85% of the eligible contributions, as per the regulations, when donated to another trust or institution registered under Section 12AB or approved under Section 10(23C), will be recognized as fulfilling the application requirements. This stipulation provides clarity on the treatment of eligible donations in the context of meeting the application criteria for trusts and institutions.

Registration Procedure Of Charitable Trust Organisation:

The alteration in the registration procedure for charitable trust organisations reflects a proactive effort to enhance efficiency and simplicity in compliance. 

Jurisdiction-specific Application:

Submit a trust registration application to the relevant official overseeing the state’s jurisdiction, such as the Charity Commissioner in Maharashtra.

Application Details:

Furnish essential information in the application, including the trust’s name, names of trustees, succession mode, and other pertinent details crucial for comprehensive registration.

Fee Requirements:

Include a court fee stamp of Rs.2 and a nominal registration fee, varying by state and trust property, along with the application to meet financial prerequisites.

Trust Deed Submission:

Attach a certified copy of the trust deed, outlining the trust’s objectives, as a mandatory document for reference in the trust registration process.

Authentication by Regional Officer or Notary:

Sign the completed trust registration form in the presence of the Regional Officer, Superintendent of the Regional Office of the Charity Commissioner, or a Notary to authenticate the application.

Purpose Of Amendment For The Charitable Trust Organisations:

Enhanced Transparency and Accountability:

Amendments aim to increase transparency and accountability in charitable trust operations.

Alignment with Contemporary Standards:

Entities must align with current legal standards, ensuring compliance and best practices.

Empowerment for Charitable Endeavours:

The amendments seek to empower trusts to navigate legal requirements effortlessly, focusing on charitable goals for societal welfare.


If you are looking to set up a religious charitable trust in India, then you will need to first obtain a registration certificate from the tax authorities. Once you have obtained this certificate, you can register your trust with the relevant state or central government agency. Make sure that you research all of the requirements related to setting up a religious charitable trust before registering it so that you avoid any potential issues down the line. For more details, contact Vakilsearch today.

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