Wednesday, 18 October 2017

GST Pre-Diwali Reliefs

22nd meeting of the GST Council has heralded some major, though temporary reliefs under the Goods & Services Act (GST)!


GST on Reverse charge in respect of all intra-state & inter-state supplies received from any supplier who is not registered has been exempted from 13.10.2017 till 31.03.2018. This exemption shall apply to all registered persons.

Earlier exemption ceiling limit of Rs. 5,000/- of aggregate value of intra-state supplies stands withdrawn.

The ceiling limit of Rs. 5,000/- till 12.10.2017 will however remain applicable. [Notification No. 38/2017 – Central Tax (Rate), dated 13.10.17 & Notification No. 32/2017 – Integrated Tax (Rate), dated 13.10.17]

Even NGOs having turnover of goods and services under the threshold limit of Rs. 20 Lakhs were affected under Reverse Charge Mechanism. Hence, this exemption comes as a relief at least till 31st March 2018.

The Central Government has made the following amendments with regards to Composition Scheme:

Threshold turnover increased to Rs. 1 Crore from Rs. 75 lac, and in notified state to 75 lac from 50 lac [Notification No. 46/2017 - Central Tax dated 13.10.2017]

Persons who are otherwise eligible for availing the composition scheme and are providing any exempt service shall be eligible for the composition scheme. Further for computing aggregate turnover in order to determine eligibility for composition scheme, value of supply of such exempt services shall not be taken into consideration.

Last date for filing the return by composition dealer for the quarter July - September, 2017 extended to 15.11.2017.

Unregistered service provider having turnover up to Rs. 20 lac can now provide interstate taxable supplies of services. [Notification No. 10/2017-Integrated Tax dated 13.10.2017.]

Taxpayers having turnover up to Rs. 1.5 Crore and not registered under composition scheme are not required to pay tax on advance received for supply of goods. [Notification No. 40/2017- Central Tax dated 13.10.2017.]

Invoice Rules have been modified [Notification No. 45/2017 – Central Tax dated 13.10.2017] to provide relief to certain classes of registered persons.

As per new rule 46A where a registered person is supplying taxable as well as exempted goods or services or both to an unregistered person, a single “invoice –cum-bill of supply” may be issued for all such supplies.

Extension in various return filing dates

Last date for filing the return by input service distributor for the months of July, August and September, 2017 has been extended till 15.11.2017. [Notification No. 43/2017 – Central Tax dated 13.10.2017]

Last date for filing the return by OIDAR service provider for the months of July, August and September, 2017 has been extended till 20.11.2017. [Notification No. 42/2017 – Central Tax dated 13.10.2017]

Last date for filing return by registered persons, who have become eligible to avail ITC under Section 18(1) of the CGST Act, 2017 during the months of July, August and September, 2017 has been extended till 31.10.2017. [Notification No. 44/2017 – Central Tax dated 13.10.2017]

Thursday, 12 October 2017

How to Register under Niti Ayog’s NGO Darpan?

Step-by-step guide to register under Niti Ayog’s NGO Darpan!

We have been receiving a number of queries from those trying to register under Niti Ayog’s NGO Darpan, hence here is a simple step-by-step guide to the process:

2) When the Niti Ayog page opens scroll all the way down till you see “Click here(link is external) to visit NGO Darpan Portal”

 3) When the NGO Darpan page opens, look on the right hand side for “Login/Register”. 


4) The system will provide you with a onetime login password by email/mobile.

5) Once you are at your NGO profile page start with providing your NGO’s PAN which the system will verify. If it fails, check if name of your NGO is the same as on the PAN card.

6) Fill in the NGO’s name address state etc. While on this page keep the following in mind:

a) When providing your NGO’s URL website provide the full URL eg: http://www

b) It will ask is the NGO Registration Validity is available? Click NO, unless you are registered as a Society in a state where renewal of registration is mandated by law of that state, as in North eastern states of India.

c) With regard to FCRA registration date, please state the date when MHA first registered your NGO under FCRA and not the date when your registration was renewed.

7) The next tab will flash your registration details based on what you submit in the first tab. Please check to see if the details are correct or use the edit/update option.

8) The third tab is ‘Member Details’. It requires details of at least three key members (i.e. Key functionaries). Here you may provide details of your Board members, CEO, COO etc. While PAN, Aadhar and email of members is asked for only the email is available in public domain. PAN and Aadhar number cannot be viewed. Hence one need not worry on that account.

9) The fourth tab is “Source of Funds”. Here, if you have not received any government grant, you may simply click ‘No’ under “grant sanctioned”.

10) The fifth tab is “Key contact information”. Here the CEO or Managing trustee or whoever is the key functionary may provide his/her contact and other details.

11) The sixth tab is about “working areas”. Choose from the drop down menu.  Also within 500 characters write a few lines about your NGO’s ‘Best Practices’ and ‘Major Activities/Achievements’.

12) On completion the Unique ID will be generated.

Good luck!

If you still face technical difficulties you may write to us or call on 022 22846534.

Please remember that registering on Niti Ayog’s ‘NGO Darpan’ is mandatory:

a) If the NGO receives Government Grants


b) The NGO has Prior Permission or is Registered under FCRA or seeking Prior Permission or Registration under FCRA.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Obtaining NGO Darpan Unique ID mandatory for NGOs receiving foreign contributions

Registration with Niti Ayog’s NGO Darpan and obtaining Unique ID mandatory for NGOs receiving foreign contributions.

Ministry of Home Affairs vide Notice dated 4th October 2017 now requires all existing FCRA registered associations and those who are seeking new registration/prior permission or renewal to register on the Darpan portal.

MHA has made it clear that availing FCRA online services such as uploading annual returns (in online Form FC 4) or changes (in online Form FC 6) will require Unique Darpan Identification Number.

To see copy of Notice, please go to:

NGO-Darpan (NGO Mirror) is a platform that provides space for interface between Voluntary Organisations / NGOs and key Government Ministries / Departments / Government Bodies. 

It is a free facility offered by NITI Aayog (formerly Planning Commission of India) in association with National Informatics Centre to bring about greater partnership between government & voluntary sector and foster better transparency, efficiency and accountability.

This portal enables VOs / NGOs to enroll centrally and thus facilitates creation of a repository of information about VOs / NGOs, Sector / State wise.

The Portal facilitates VOs / NGOs to obtain a system generated Unique ID, as and when signed.

The Unique ID is mandatory for NGOs wanting to apply for grants under various schemes of Ministries/Departments/Governments Bodies and now also for NGOs registered or wanting to register under FCRA 2010.

As of the moment over thirty three thousand NGOs are enrolled on this portal.

To register please go to the following web link: 

Niti Aayog is now appointed as the nodal agency for the purpose of registration and accreditation of NGOs/voluntary organizations seeking funds from the government and registration or prior permission under FCRA 2010.

NGO-Darpan platform is an upgraded version of a similar initiative started by the former Planning Commission in 2006. However, back then, registering on the Planning Commission’s platform was not mandatory, whereas now registering on NGO-Darpan has been made mandatory for NGOs aspiring to secure funding support under various Government Schemes and now also for registration/prior permission under FCRA.

NGO-Darpan requires several disclosures including the Aadhaar number and PAN of chief executives of NGOs

Monday, 2 October 2017

Principles for convening and conducting Board Meetings

In any nonprofit/charitable institution its board of directors/trustees is charged with providing ultimate oversight over the activities and affairs of the organisation. Each director/trustee must discharge his/her fiduciary duty in good faith, with due care, diligence and in a manner, he/she believes to be in the best interest of the organisation.

How often the board should meet, what it should discuss and how records of these meetings should be maintained is also important because it is indicative of what a board has accomplished over time as well as to hold directors/trustees accountable for their discussions and decisions. Minutes of the meeting should include major decisions made, follow-up steps and tasks, event information, etc.

Secretarial Standards
Companies registered under the Indian Companies Act follow ‘Secretarial Standards’ issued by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India ('ICSI'). However, charitable trusts and societies have no such standards or guidelines to fall back on. 

The Trusts Act and Societies Registration Act offers little direction in terms of number of meetings and how these should be conducted and records maintained. Often trustees find only vague guidance under their own constitution (trust deed or the by-laws or Rules).

The object of this write-up is two-fold:
a) To give readers a flavor of the latest Secretarial Standards and
b) To help directors/trustees of charitable organizations adopt or adapt some corporate best practices with regard to board meetings.

Latest Amendments to Secretarial Standards
The Institute of Company Secretaries of India ('ICSI') has recently (30th August, 2017) amended the Secretarial Standers which shall come into effect from 1st October 2017. 

These Standards prescribes a set of principles for convening and conducting Meetings of the Board of Directors and matters related thereto.

Exemption to Section 8 Companies
These Standards are not applicable to companies registered u/s 8 of the Indian Companies Act 2013.


  • An adjourned Board Meeting can be held on a National Holiday.
  • Notice of the Meeting shall clearly mention a venue, whether registered office or otherwise, to be the venue of the Meeting and all the recordings of the proceedings of the Meeting, if conducted through electronic mode, shall be deemed to be made at such place. In other words, it has been made mandatory to mention the venue of the meeting in each and every notice of the meeting whether through electronic facility of participation through electronic mode provided or not.
  • Directors shall not participate through electronic mode in the discussion on certain restricted items.
  • Such restricted items of business include approval of the annual financial statement, Board's report, prospectus and matters relating to amalgamation, merger, demerger, acquisition and takeover.
  • Similarly, participation in the discussion through electronic mode shall not be allowed in meetings of the audit committee for consideration of annual financial statement including consolidated financial statement, if any, to be approved by the board.
  • The Notice of meeting should inform the directors about the availability of such facility, and provide them necessary information to avail such facility.
  • Director may intimate his intention of participation through electronic mode at the beginning of the Calendar Year also.
  • Notice in writing of every meeting shall be given to every Director by hand or by speed post or by registered post or by facsimile or by e-mail or by any other electronic means. Where a Director specifies a particular means of delivery of Notice, the Notice shall be given to him by such means. However, in case of a Meeting conducted at a shorter Notice, the company may choose an expedient mode of sending Notice.
  • In case the company sends the Notice by speed post or by registered post an additional two days shall be added for the service of Notice.
  • Proof of sending Notice and its delivery shall be maintained by the company for such period as decided by the Board, which shall not be less than 3 years from the date of the Meeting.
  • Any item not included in the Agenda may be taken up for consideration with the permission of the Chairman and with the consent of a majority of the Directors present in the Meeting.
  • The decision taken in respect of any other item shall be final only on its ratification by a majority of the Directors of the Company, unless such item was approved at the Meeting itself by a majority of Directors of the Company.
  • Company should hold at least four Meetings of its Board in each Calendar Year with a maximum interval of one hundred and twenty days between any two consecutive Meetings.
  • Director shall not be reckoned for quorum in respect of an item in which he is interested. However, in case of a private company, a Director shall be entitled to participate in respect of such item after disclosure of his interest.
  • Leave of absence shall be granted to a Director only when a request for such leave has been received by the Company Secretary or by the Chairman.
  • Interested Director for the purpose of Quorum: For this purpose, a Director shall be treated as interested in a contract or arrangement entered into or proposed to be entered into by the company. If the item of business is related party transaction, then he shall not be present at the meeting, whether physically or through electronic mode, during discussions and voting of such item.
  • If an attendance register is maintained in loose-leaf form, it shall be bound periodically, at least in every three years. The attendance register shall be deemed to have been signed by the Directors participating through electronic mode, if their attendance is recorded in attendance registered and authenticated by the Company Secretary or where there is no Company Secretary, by the Chairman or by any other Director present at the Meeting, if so authorized by Chairman and the fact of such participation is also recorded in the Minutes. Where there is no Company Secretary, the attendance register shall be in the custody of any other person authenticated by the Board of this purpose.
  • The attendance register is open for inspection by the Directors. Even after a person cease to be a Director, he shall be entitled to inspect the attendance register of the Meeting held during the period of his Directorship.
  • Passing of Resolution by Circulation: Proof of sending and delivery of the draft of the Resolution and the necessary papers shall be maintained by the company for such period as decided by the Board, which shall not be less than three years from the date of the Meeting. An additional two days shall be added for the service of the draft Resolution, in case the same has been sent by the Company by speed post or by registered post or by courier.
  • Where the Minutes have been kept in accordance with the Act and all appointments have been recorded, then until the contrary is proved, all appointments of Directors, First Auditors, Key Managerial Personnel, Secretarial Auditors, Internal Auditors and Cost Auditors, shall be deemed to have been duly approved by the Board. All appointments made one level below Key Managerial Personnel shall be noted by the Board.
  • Wherever the decision of the Board is based on any unsigned documents including reports or notes or presentations tabled or presented at the Meeting, which were not part of the Notes on Agenda and are referred to in the Minutes, shall be identified by initialing of such documents by the Company Secretary or the Chairman.
  • Proof of sending draft Minutes and its delivery shall be maintained by the company for such period as decided by the Board, which shall not be less than three years from the date of the Meeting.
  • The Report of the Board of Directors shall include a statement on compliances of applicable Secretarial Standards.
  • Board of Directors has to mention a statement in its Directors' Report that 'Company is in compliance with applicable Secretarial Standards'. 

Friday, 29 September 2017

Deemed tax exemption & surplus from charitable activities

Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) Pune in the case of ‘Yashaswi Education Society Vs CIT (ITAT Pune)’, Appeal Number: ITA No. 250/PUN/2014, Order dated: 13th April 2017 has maintained that:

1. Generation of surplus while carrying out charitable activities would not dis-entitle the assessee for registration under section 12AA of the Income Tax Act.

It is a well-settled principle of law that the test to determine as to what would be a charitable purpose within the meaning of section 2 (15) of the Act, is to ascertain what is the dominant object of the activity; whether it is to carry out a charitable purpose or to earn profit. If the pre-dominant object is to carry out a charitable purpose and not to earn profit, the purpose would not lose its charitable character merely because the some profit arises from the activity. (Reference: CIT Andhra Pradesh v. APSRTC Hyderabad (1986) 2 SCC 391).

2. As per the provisions of section 12AA(2) of the Income tax Act, the order granting or refusing registration should be passed before the expiry of six months from the end of the month in which the application was received.

It is again a well settled law that if the application for grant of registration under section 12A is not disposed of within the stipulated time, it shall be deemed that the registration is granted to the assessee. The Supreme Court of India, in the case of Commissioner of Income Tax & Ors. v. Society for the Promotion of Education (supra) has reiterated this position.

Earlier judgments upholding the same view:

The Supreme Court of India in the case of Commissioner of Income Tax v. Society for the Promotion of Education 382 ITR 6 had held that if the assessee has not been granted registration within the period of 6 months from the date of making application, it shall be presumed that deemed registration has been granted to the assessee.

The Karnataka High Court in the case of Sanjeevamma Hanumanthe Gowda Charitable Trust v. Director of Income Tax (Exemptions) 285 ITR 327 has maintained: 
“Having regard to the scheme of sections 11, 12 and 13 ultimately what the Commissioner has to look into is not the source of income to the trust but whether such income is applied for charitable or religious purposes. The satisfaction of the Commissioner should be regarding the application of the income of the trust for the aforesaid purposes, which only entitles the assessee to claim exemption. For arriving at such satisfaction primarily he has to look at the object of the trust, when the same is reduced into writing in the form of trust deed. If on the date of the application the trust has received income from its property, then find out how the said income has been expended, and whether it can be said that the income is utilized towards charitable and religious purposes, i.e., towards the object of the trust. Therefore, for the purpose of registration under section 12AA of the Act, what the authorities have to satisfy is the genuineness of the activities of the trust or institution and how the income derived from the trust property is applied to charitable or religious purpose and not the nature of the activity by which the income was derived by the trust.”