The establishment of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has experienced a global surge since the 1970s, with Nepal being no exception. As a low-income country facing challenges such as weak governance, limited resources, and high unemployment rates, Nepal heavily relies on NGOs to fill the gaps in crucial sectors like healthcare and education. While some criticisms have been raised about NGOs and their reliance on foreign funding, their contributions to the country’s social progress are undeniable.
If you’re considering starting an NGO in Nepal, this article will guide you through the registration process, ensuring you meet the necessary legal requirements.
Governing Laws for NGOs in Nepal
To regulate the functioning of NGOs, Nepal has specific laws and guidelines in place. The key legislations governing NGOs include:
- Associations Registration Act 1977
- Social Welfare Act 1992 and relevant guidelines set by the Social Welfare Council
- Local Level Government laws and regulations
Steps of Registering NGOs in Nepal
Step 1: Building a Team and Preparing Required Documents:
To initiate the NGO registration process, follow these essential steps:
Form a team of at least seven Nepali citizens for the board, including a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and three or more members.
- Obtain copies of the citizenship documents, passport-sized photos, and character reports for all team members from the Nepal Police, verifying their origin.
- Create a clear mission statement and define the goals of the NGO. Develop bylaws to guide its operations.
- Finalize the Bylaws, which outline the organization’s objectives and governing structure.
- Document the minutes of the first meeting with the members. Clearly state the reasons for establishing the NGO and assign specific roles to each member within the organization.
- Secure a rental agreement to confirm the location of the organization.
- Prepare rubber stamps featuring the organization’s logo for official documentation purposes.
Step 2: Obtaining a Recommendation Letter from the Ward Office:
To proceed with the NGO registration, you need a recommendation letter from the ward office where your NGO will be located. Here’s what you need to do:
- Submit an application signed by the chairperson of the NGO.
- Include a copy of the minutes from the ad hoc committee meeting, which demonstrates the approval for registering the NGO.
- Attach the organization’s constitution (Bidhan), signed by each member of the committee.
- Provide notarized copies of the citizenship certificates for all members of the committee.
- Include a rental agreement between the NGO and the owner of the office premises, duly signed.
- Attach the land tax receipt of the office premises, issued in the name of the property owner.
- Provide a notarized copy of the property owner’s citizenship certificate.
By completing these steps, you can obtain the necessary recommendation letter from the ward office for your NGO registration in Nepal.
Step 3: Obtaining a Recommendation Letter from the District Coordination Committee (DCC)
Following the recommendation letter from the ward office, the next step is obtaining a recommendation letter from the District Coordination Committee (DCC). Here’s what you need to submit:
- An application signed by all members of the ad-hoc committee, expressing the intention to register the NGO.
- A copy of the recommendation letter received from the ward office.
- Notarized copies of the citizenship certificates of all members belonging to the ad-hoc committee, serving as proof of their Nepali citizenship.
- A copy of the organization’s constitution, duly signed by all members of the ad-hoc committee, outlining the objectives and operational framework of the NGO.
- A copy of the rental agreement between the NGO and the property owner, validating the premises designated for the NGO’s activities.
- A copy of the minutes from the ad-hoc committee meeting that approved the establishment and registration of the NGO.
By compiling and submitting these documents, you can obtain a recommendation letter from the District Coordination Committee (DCC), an important step in the NGO registration process in Nepal.
Step 4: Obtaining the Registration Certificate from the District Administration Office (DAO):
Upon receiving the recommendation letter from the District Coordination Committee (DCC), follow these steps:
- Submit a duly signed application by all members of the ad-hoc committee.
- Provide four copies of the organization’s constitution, duly signed by all members of the ad-hoc committee.
- Include notarized copies of the citizenship certificates for all members.
- Attach the recommendation letter from the ward office and the DCC.
- Provide a copy of the rental agreement between the NGO and the property owner.
- Include a copy of the minutes from the ad-hoc committee meeting that indicated approval for registering the NGO.
Step 5: Social Welfare Council Affiliation:
After obtaining the registration certificate from the District Administration Office (DAO), seek affiliation from the Social Welfare Council (SWC), the regulatory body overseeing NGOs in Nepal. Submit the following documents to the SWC:
- An application, signed by the chairperson of the NGO, expressing the intent to seek affiliation with the SWC.
- A copy of the NGO’s constitution (bylaws) provides a detailed overview of the organization’s objectives, structure, and operational guidelines.
- The NGO registration certificate issued by the DAO, confirms the official recognition of the NGO’s legal status.
- Notarized copies of the citizenship certificates of all members associated with the NGO, serving as proof of their Nepali citizenship
By submitting these documents to the SWC, you can initiate the process of seeking affiliation, which strengthens the NGO’s credibility and enables it to access various benefits and support available to registered and affiliated organizations.
Step 6: Obtaining the PAN Certificate and Tax Exemption Certificate from the Inland Revenue Department:
NGOs are registered as tax-exempt entities in Inland Revenue Department. NGOs cannot enjoy the tax exemption facility unless the NGO obtains the tax exemption certificate.
To acquire the PAN (Permanent Account Number) certificate and Tax Exemption Certificate from the Inland Revenue Department, follow these steps:
- Prepare a copy of the minutes documenting the process of obtaining the PAN, signed by the board members.
- Provide a copy of the rental agreement between the NGO and the property owner.
- Submit a copy of the online application.
- Include a copy of the NGO’s constitution, which outlines its objectives and operating principles.
- Attach a copy of the certificate of registration issued by the District Administration Office (DAO), confirming the NGO’s legal status.
- Include a copy of the SWC affiliation certificate, demonstrating the organization’s affiliation with the regulatory body.
After submitting the mentioned documents online, a representative from the NGO’s board must visit the tax office for biometric detail record keeping.
Step 7: Register at the Local Level Ward Office:
The final step involves registering your NGO at the local level ward office. Specific requirements may vary depending on the location, so it’s advisable to contact the ward office for the necessary information and documents.
Some essential documents are:
- A copy of the PAN Certificate and Tax Exemption Certificate
- A copy of the Rental agreement with the property owner with citizenship of the property owner
- A copy of the NGO’s constitution (bylaws), providing a detailed overview of the organization’s objectives, structure, and operational guidelines.
- A Copy of the SWC Affiliation Certificate
- A Copy of the DAO Registration Certificate
Registration Certificates obtained after registering NGO
- Certificate of Registration from District Administrative Office
- Certificate of Affiliation from Social Welfare Council
- PAN Registration Certificate from Inland Revenue Office
- Tax Exempted Certificate from Inland Revenue Office
- Organization Registration Certificate from Local Government