Trust Registration / Non Profit Organisation

A trust is an agreement between people (called trustees) to manage property over which they have control either to benefit other people (called beneficiaries) or for charitable purposes. A groups of trustees may be incorporated as a board under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 if the objects are charitable.

Trust formed for charitable or religious purposes which are not intended to do commercial activities are allowed various benefits under the Income-Tax Act, inter-alia, exemption under section 11.

The term religious purpose is not defined under the Income-Tax Act. However, Section 2(15)​ of the Act defines “charitable purpose” to include relief of the poor, education, medical relief, preservation of environment (including watersheds, forests and wildlife) and preservation of monuments or places or objects of artistic or historic interest, and the advancement of any other object of general public utility.

Provided that the advancement of any other object of general public utility shall not be a charitable purpose, if it involves the carrying on of any activity in the nature of trade, commerce or business, or any activity of rendering any service in relation to any trade, commerce or business, for a cess or fee or any other consideration, irrespective of the nature of use or application, or retention, of the income from such activity, unless—

(i) such activity is undertaken in the course of actua​​l carrying out of such advancement of any other object of general public utility; and
(ii) the aggregate receipts from such activity or activities during the previous year, do not exceed 20% of the total receipts, of the trust or institution undertaking such activity or activities, of that previous year

​Is it mandatory for a trust to file return of income?

  • It is mandatory for a trust referred to in Sections 139(4A)​, 139(4C), 139(4D) and 139(4E) to file the return of income.
  • Further, a trust (not covered in above provision) is required to file return of income if its gross total income exceeds the maximum amount which is not chargeable to tax.
  • Which form shall be used to file return of income?
  • A trust who is required to furnish return of income in accordance with provision of Sections 139(4A)​,139(4C), 139(4D) and 139(4E) shall file return in ITR 7 otherwise in ITR 5.