Can a religious organization receive funds for social activities?‎

Dear Sir,‎

We have an FCRA registration in the name of Seminary Council Baptist Theological Seminary. ‎We got renewal certificate. In the certificate, it is mentioned nature of association as Religious, ‎but in the renewal application (FC-3) we had applied as Religous, Social & Education.‎

My query is can we receive funds for social activities and community development projects like ‎sewing institutions and self-employment vocational training course for poor people through our ‎organisation.‎

Thank you

Devasahayam Boni

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3 Responses to Can a religious organization receive funds for social activities?‎

  1. Subhash Mittal says:

    Most religious organisations also have social objects in their Objectives. Without such clause, they are not entitled to receive 80G benefit, as there is no tax benefit on donation to purely religious organisations.

    In current scenario, where FCRA Dept interprets most issues on very strict line, I would suggest that you should request for changes in the certificate, as it may pose problems in any future interaction with the Dept.

  2. Udayshankar says:

    Dear Friends,

    Recently I applied to IT for 12AA and 80G. In the application, we mentioned Research as part of Charitable services. The IT Commissioner advised us to delete “Research” as it does not come under Charitable services. We had to re-register the society’s after amending the MOA as per IT Commissioner’s direction. Thereafter, we were given only 12AA. 80G , they said, would be given after observing our performance under 12AA for sometime! Arbitrary, is it not!

    SIMILAR LOGIC MIGHT HAVE BEEN APPLIED BY MHA/FCRA IN THE SUBJECT CASE. FCRA renewal mentioning only “Religious” is enough, if a Religious organisation by law can take-up social and development action. If not, it appears that the law is applied strictly. Question is this: Does the law permit Religious organisation to take up social and development action also?


    • Joe D'Souza says:

      It appears arbitrary but is perhaps just a practice being followed in case the FCRA authority is unsure about the performance of an organisation registering newly for 12AA and 80G. We had a similar experience some years ago when we applied for 12A and 80G – while being registered under 12A, we were not even informed about the 80G!

      It might seem illogical to prevent a religious organisation from taking up social and development work (not action). But why should a religious organisation take up such other work other than it mandates itself to do? The work can be done only when a separate organisation is registered to take up social and development work ONLY – not mixing social development work and religious work, just like a private company registering a CSR for socially inclined purposes.

      Joe D’Souza

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