The official GuideStar India blog

Welcome, NGOs and all those interested in NGOs in India!

If you are running an NGO or working for one, you will find opportunities and resources for your organisation.

If you or your organisation want to direct your time, money, products or services to NGOs that can can make the most effective and efficient use of your donations or grants, you will find this blog and http://www.guidestarindia.org/ useful to announce your offer to NGOs.

You will also get to read about statistics and issues concerning transparency & accountability of the Indian voluntary sector.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

FCRA wing announces last chance for 18523 NGOs to avoid cancellation of FCRA


Ministry of Home Affairs has recently issued a number of circulars regarding pending FC-4 returns as per their records and a lot chance to upload the same without a penalty to avoid cancellation of FCRA registration/ renewal.
Please check your FCRA status (even if you got a renewal) and upload pending FC4 returns (if any) on the MHA site  by June 14 to avoid cancellation.


Follow these 4 simple steps to Do-It-Yourself: 

1. Check if your name appears in the list of 18,523 organisations (even if you got your renewal).

Open the link: 
https://fcraonline.nic.in/home/PDF_Doc/fc_list_12052017.pdf, press Ctrl+F and enter your FCRA registration number
2. If your org name appears, check for which year(s) your FC annual returns are pending

4. If it shows a “No” for any year, even if you believe you have submitted earlier, please upload your FC4 return for those years. You are required to file returns even if you did not receive any foreign contributions in a particular year. Login and upload your pending FC4 returns at, https://fcraonline.nic.in as per instructions in the FCRA user guide

Remember last date is June 14, 2017 to avoid cancellation of FCRA registration/ renewal.



Feel free to share this with other NGOs in your network.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Presenting India's most credible NGOs! Partner with confidence with GuideStar India certified organisations.

GuideStar India certifies NGOs based on their level of transparency & public accountability after a rigorous due diligence carried out by our team of certification experts. Due diligence is based on verifying financial and legal compliances through a thorough scrutiny of registration documents, tax returns, FCRA returns, audited financial statements & auditor's reports, public disclosures on our portal, reporting key facts to stakeholders as per our Annual Report disclosure template and confirmation of third party site visits and references. 

The unique aspect of our certification is that NGOs are required to voluntarily submit information and documents for due diligence by displaying the same on their profile on our portal. This ensures high levels of transparency via public disclosures and establishes credibility through public accountability. It also enriches the organisation's online profile and, makes available rich information about it to all stakeholders to make informed decisions.

Until Jan 2015, we certified NGOs for our institutional users based on their specific requirements for due diligence. We launched our standardised NGO certification programme in  Jan 2015, to reduce duplication in the efforts of users and NGOs avoiding wastage of resources of all players. With our standardised certification programme, you could choose the level of certification required as per you need, shortlist NGOs that match your cause/ location, and if you wish to carry out additional vetting of the NGO's programme or there aspects, you collect our due diligence diagnostic report from us and request the NGO only for additional information.



Presenting our certified organisations who are pre-vetted and "ready-to-partner".


Please click on the numbers (in the table below) to view respective list.


Level Certification Valid till Dec 2017 Valid till Dec 2016 Valid till Dec 2015 Total
Champion Level GuideStar India Platinum 14 20 19 53
Advanced Level GuideStar India Gold 32 72 39 143
Intermediate Level GuideStar India Transparency Badge 16 91 16 123
Foundation Level GuideStar India Transparency Key 192 242 NA 434
Total
254
425 74 753


You may refer to updated lists at
 http://www.guidestarindia.org/CertifiedNGOs.aspx.


To obtain a copy of due diligence reports of specific organisations
at a nominal contribution (to recover costs), please send a mail to 
certification@guidestarindia.org stating the purpose of your requirement 
and the names & GSN (GuideStar Number) of organisations. 

Use these quick links to know more about our certification programme.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Join Harvard Business School’s NGO Management program in India

A rare opportunity for your senior management- the Strategic Nonprofit Management – India Program (SNMI), a new executive leadership program launched for the first time in India, thanks to a partnership between Dasra, Harvard Business School and Ashoka University. The program is designed to help participants explore best practices in nonprofit strategy, governance, and leadership, with the aim of building high-performance organizations that can fulfill their mission, expand scope, and achieve full potential.

Participants in the program will be executive directors, chief executive officers, board members, or other senior executives responsible for shaping the mission, direction, and policies of their organizations. The program may also be appropriate for executives who work closely with the nonprofit sector.

Nonprofits of all sizes are encouraged to apply!



Why you should attend this program:
The success of a nonprofit organization depends on a focused mission and strategy, a sound operational model, effective alliances, and the right governance. Only then will an organization be able to scale operations and make a real difference in the lives of the people it serves. This new program will prepare you to build and lead an effective organization that can drive meaningful social change.

This is an international program of the Harvard Business School that you can now attend without travelling to the Harvard Business School, USA. Led by the finest faculty from Harvard, the program brings you international best practices within the local context.

Topics covered:
Best practices in non-profit strategy, governance and leadership
• Establishing a mission and goals
• Instituting a disciplined approach to nonprofit strategy
• Measuring, improving, and communicating performance
• Ensuring responsible governance, from people and processes
• Becoming a more effective leader
• Developing leadership capacity in the organization

Who should attend: Strategic decision makers for non-profits in South or Southeast Asia
(executive directors, chief executive officers, board members, or other senior executives). The program is in English. Admission is selective and based on professional achievement and organizational responsibility.
No formal educational requirements apply.

Duration: 5 days; 31 July - 4 August 2017

Location: Ashoka University Campus, Sonepat (90 min by road from Delhi airport). This is a residential program.

Participant fee: Rs1 lakh plus service tax
The program fee covers tuition, books, case materials, accommodation, and most meals.
Need-based scholarship funding may be available to qualified candidates.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Deadline for applications is 20th May 2017.

How to apply
Candidates are encouraged to apply early as seats are limited. To apply, please visit https://www.exed.hbs.edu/programs/snmi/Pages/default.aspx. If your application is approved for admission, you will receive an invoice for the fee and payment would be required immediately.

If you have questions, please write to snmi@ashoka.edu.in for more details or speak with
Ms. Sarah Afraz, Manager-Strategy & Partnerships, Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy,
Ashoka University, Email: snmi@ashoka.edu.in Telephone: +91-130-2300599.

If you think this opportunity is suitable for your peers or other organisations in your network, feel free to forward this mail to them.

Do not miss this rare opportunity to attend a Harvard Business School program in India!

Apply today!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ready for your annual audit and filing of tax returns? Check if you have everything in place

We have made a comprehensive checklist for you to discuss with you Chartered Accountant before your audited accounts are signed off and your annual returns are filed as required under Income Tax and FCRA.

AUDIT, INCOME TAX AND FCRA CHECKLIST

Disclaimer: The list of documents/ points/ links to sample documents mentioned in this document are only illustrative and not exhaustive. You may refer to the relevant acts/ statutory provisions and if required consult a Chartered Accountant or a legal advisor. 


LIST OF DOCUMENTS TO BE INCLUDED IN AUDITED ANNUAL ACCOUNTS 
1.    Auditor's Report (typically on the letterhead of the CA/auditor).
2.    Balance Sheet (Signed and stamped by the CA/auditor), signed by your Chief Functionary & Board Members
3.    Income and Expenditure Account ((Signed and stamped by the CA/auditor), signed by your Chief Functionary & Board Members
4.    Receipts and Payment Account. This is mandatory if you have an FCRA registration. (Signed and stamped by the CA/auditor), signed by your Chief Functionary & Board Members. However, it is a good practice to prepare consolidated Receipts and Payments account (both foreign and domestic transactions) irrespective of whether you have an FCRA account or not.
5.    ​Notes to Accounts (including significant accounting policies). Also, you can include your organisation's registration details, date of filing income-tax return and FCRA return and details of 12A, 80G, 35AC and FCRA registration. 
6.    Fixed Assets Schedule.  
7.    Complete Schedules if your balance sheet, income and expenditure account mention the same. Each page should be stamped along with the initials of the CA. 
8.    Ensure that year (i.e. 2015 or 2016) is correctly mentioned in all schedules and annexures. 
9.    Ensure that there are no typo errors or rounding off errors across all pages.
10. Ideally, figures for previous year should be provided in all statements and schedules.
11.Would be good to have the pages numbered. Also, use a clear font and ensure the original copy is of good quality print. 
12.Payment of fees/ salary/ remuneration/ reimbursements to Trustees/ Governing Body members/ Directors should be tracked and reported separately. 
13.If your CA/auditor makes any comment/ qualification in their draft audit report, discuss the issues with them and provide your response in a management report so that the CA/auditor can incorporate the same in their final report. 
14. Ensure you have shared an action taken report with your CA/auditor on issues that they raised in the previous year’s report. 
15. If your accountant has made separate project wise/ location wise accounts and also separately for FCRA and domestic transactions, please ensure that the accountant has also prepared consolidated statements for the organisation as a whole.     


INCOME TAX FILINGS
1.    ​Please ensure that you file your income-tax return within the due date (which is generally 30 September of that year) because it is a sign of good governance and increases your transparency. (Please note that filing your income tax return on time is a criterion for GuideStar India Gold and Platinum certification). 
2.    Form 10B – Audit report under Income-tax Act, 1961 (‘IT Act’)
a.    Please ensure that your CA files Form 10B online in the income-tax e-filing website and provides you with an Acknowledgement of filing the same. Please view the sample document of Form 10B which is filed online. You may also view an acknowledgement of uploading Form 10B online.
b.    Please ensure that related party transactions under section 13(3) of the IT Act mentioned in Form 10B match with the details provided in your audited financial statements.
3.    ​In case you file your return with a Digital Signature, then you need not send the acknowledgement (ITR-V) to the Centralised Processing Centre, Bengaluru. In case you file your return without a Digital Signature, then you are required to sign the ITR-V and post the signed copy of the ITR-V to Centralised Processing Centre, Bengaluru. While uploading ITR-V on the GuideStar India website, please ensure that you upload a signed copy of the ITR-V.

FCRA FILINGS

1.  Please ensure that you file your FCRA annual return within the due date (which is generally 31 December of that year) because it is a sign of good governance and increases your transparency. (Please note that filing your FCRA return on time is a criterion for GuideStar India Gold and Platinum certification).
2. Prepare and disclose your FCRA quarterly disclosure of foreign receipts and details of donors within 15 days of end of each quarter. You can either upload the details on the FCRA website or display the same on your website. Please note that this disclosure has to be filed even if you have NIL receipts. You may click here to view a sample disclosure form.
3.   Ensure timely intimation to Ministry of Home Affairs with regard to change of address/ bank account details/ more than 50% change in governing body, etc.    

Other points to be looked into​

AUDITED ACCOUNTS
Sr. No
Items
Action to be taken
1
Mostly for Gujarat and Maharashtra NGOs: - For the query regarding whether tenders were invited for repairs or construction involving expenditure exceeding Rs.5000/-
In case there was no such expenditure in your organisation, then ensure that the auditor writes 'NOT APPLICABLE' in your audit report. Leaving it blank or writing “No” may be construed as non-compliance. Wherever it is applicable then ensure that the auditor provides further details.
2
Fixed Assets register
Please ensure that you maintain fixed assets register and get it audited by your Auditor.
3
Cash register - The auditor's generally write a comment saying that they have not tallied or verified the cash balance
Please ensure that you maintain a cash register and get a certificate of the cash balance on the last date and get the same verified/ audited by the auditor.
4
Loans From Trustee/ Member
In case the Trust/ Society/ Section8/25 Company has received any loan from a Trustee/ Board Member then it is a good practice to mention the details (amount of loan, the rate of interest of the loan, name of the trustee etc.) in the audited accounts.
5
Loan given to Trustee/ Member 
In case the Trust/ Society/ Section 8/25 Company has given any loan to a Trustee/ Board Member then it is a good practice to mention the details (amount of loan, the rate of interest of the loan, name of the trustee etc.) in the audited accounts.
6
Related Party Transactions
In case the Trust/ Society/ Section 8/25 Company has entered into any transaction with related parties, then please ensure that Auditor mentions complete details of such transactions in the audited accounts and Form 10B (income-tax audit report).

FCRA
7
Any non-compliance under FCRA. for e.g. (funds received in another bank account)
In case there is any non-compliance on account of FCRA, if the Auditor makes any comments in the audited financials ('Notes to Accounts') then please ensure that the auditor provides adequate details of such non-compliance.

INCOME TAX  & OTHER LITIGATIONS
8
Any ongoing assessment/ litigation
Please discuss with your Auditor and ensure that s/he provides adequate details of such assessments/ litigation in the audited accounts. 

Due dates at a glance
Income Tax return online submission
30th September 2016
Form 10B online submission 
30th September 2016
FCRA annual return
31st December 2016 
Intimation of quarterly disclosure of foreign receipts and details of donors
15th July 2016, 15th October 2016, 15th January 2016, 15th April 2017