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NGO registration in Nepal: A step-by-step guide

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Since the reestablishment of the multiparty democracy in 1990, the number of non-government organisations (NGOs) is steadily on the rise, and the pace has been accelerated after the 2006 people’s movement. Although many NGOs are criticised for making the country dependent on foreign aid and colluding with the donors to help them meet vested interests, there is no denying that the NGOs have also contributed to the social development in the country.

Perhaps that is why, the number of NGOs is increasing all the time, and people involved in other sectors are also interested in registering their NGOs and contribute to the development process.

Here, we are presenting a step-by-step guide to help them understand the process to register an NGO in Nepal as per the Associations Registration Act, 1977.

Step 1: Obtaining recommendation letter from the ward office

The first step starts from applying for a recommendation letter from the ward office where the office of the NGO is situated.

To receive a letter from the ward office, one should file an application incorporating the following documents:

  1. An application signed by the chairperson of the NGO
  2. A copy of the minutes of the ad-hoc committee meeting regarding approval to register the NGO: The ad-hoc committee is formed prior to the registration of the NGO which will eventually function as the board (of directors) upon registration.
  3. A copy of the organisation’s constitution (bidhan) duly signed by each member of the ad-hoc committee
  4. Notarised copies of the citizenship certificates of all the members of the ad-hoc committee
  5. A rent agreement between the NGO and the house owner of the office of the NGO
  6. Land tax receipt of the house where the office of the NGO is situated
  7. A notarised copy of the citizenship certificate of the house owner where the NGO is situated

Step 2: Obtaining recommendation letter from District Coordination Committee

After obtaining a letter of recommendation from the ward office, one shall take a recommendation letter from the District Coordination Committee (DCC). The following documents should be submitted for an application to the DCC:

  1. An application duly signed by all members of the ad-hoc committee
  2. A copy of the letter of recommendation from the ward office (See step 1 above)
  3. Notarised copies of citizenship certificates of all the members of the ad-hoc committee
  4. A copy of the organisation’s constitution duly signed by all the members of the ad-hoc committee
  5. A copy of the rent agreement between the NGO and the house owner
  6. A copy of the minutes of the ad-hoc committee meeting regarding the approval for registering the NGO

Step 3: Obtaining registration certificate from District Administration Office

File: Kathmandu District Administration Office

Once the recommendation letter from the DCC is received, an application shall be filed at the concerned District Administration Office (DOA) with the documents listed below:

  1. An application duly signed by all the members of the ad-hoc committee
  2. Four copies of the organisation’s constitution duly signed by all members of the ad-hoc committee
  3. Notarised copies of the citizenship certificate of all the members
  4. The letter of recommendation from the ward office (See step 1 above)
  5. The letter of recommendation from the DCC (See step 2 above)
  6. A copy of the rent agreement between the NGO and the house owner
  7. A copy of the minutes of the ad-hoc committee meeting regarding approval for registering the NGO

Upon submission of an application with all documents, the DAO will issue a letter to Nepal Police seeking a clearance report. Upon the report issued by police and all clauses mentioned in the constitution of the NGO are in accordance with the prevailing laws of the country, the DAO will issue a certificate of registration. 

Step 4: Affiliation from Social Welfare Council

After receiving the certificate of registration from DAO, the NGO shall apply to the Social Welfare Council (SWC), the NGO regulator of the country, to get its affiliation. The application to the SWC must be submitted with a set of documents mentioned below:

  1. An application duly signed by the chairperson of the NGO
  2. A copy of the constitution of the NGO
  3. The NGO registration certificate issued by the DAO
  4. Notarised copies of the citizenship certificates of all the members

Step 5: Obtaining PAN certificate from Inland Revenue Department

Once the NGO is affiliated with the SWC, initiations to obtain a permanent account number (PAN) from the concerned inland revenue office under the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) must be proceeded to initiate the operation of the NGO. The submission must be conducted online attaching the following documents:

  1. A copy of the minutes for obtaining the PAN, duly signed by the board members
  2. Tax deducted at source (TDS) voucher of the rent paid
  3. A copy of the online application with a stamp costing Rs 10
  4. A copy of the constitution of the NGO
  5. A copy of the certificate of registration issued by the DAO
  6. A copy of the SWC affiliation certificate

After online submission of the mentioned documents, a board member of the NGO must be presented before the tax office, which will keep a record of the biometric photograph and signature of the board member. All the presented documents will be physically verified by the officer and the certificate of PAN will be issued by the department.

This procedure as a last step concludes the registration of the NGO in Nepal. Nevertheless, the NGO must ensure its operation in accordance with the laws of the country.

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Regmi is an advocate associated with Associates Hub Law Firm.

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