How to get CSR Funding for your NGO ?- Program Quality

How to get CSR funding for your NGO? – PART 1

We have seen in last blog here (How to get CSR Funding for NGO?) , what NGO should not do to get CSR funds. Let us see now what NGO should do to get CSR funding. How your should prepared your NGO for CSR funding. One of the important aspect is how effectively your NGO implement the given project i.e. Program Quality.

Program Quality

Obviously, as a Chartered Accountant, I can not suggest about how to implement program effectively, but yes, I can suggest on how to maintain documents in such a manner, so that it can easily draw an idea about NGO working.

Past and Current Programs

Programs, which are completed in last five years should have been documented properly. There has to be proper file for each program containing all the documents starting from agreement, budget, all financial utilization certificates, quarterly reports, photographs and note on impact of the program. I suggest to have a “Program Closure Card”, a brief summary of Program. Please see below example.

This is illustration how Program Closure Card look

This is illustration how Program Closure Card look

 

Future Program

Every company ask full project plan for which you need CSR fund. Thus, NGO should have keep ready such kind of different project plans – mainly divided in two parts, short term plans and long term plans. Many CSR companies even provide funding for ongoing project or contribute in Long Term Project Plan of NGO.

Coming Soon – How to get CSR funding for your NGO? – PART 3

 

Draft Guidelines providing stringent regulatory mechanism for NGOs

The Centre filed in Supreme Court on Wednesday its draft guidelines providing stringent regulatory mechanism for NGOs. Earlier, in January 2017, famous lawyer for his PILs, Advocate Mr. Manohar Lal Sharma, filled a PIL to regulate the unorganized NGOs ecosystem in the country. SC had asked the Centre to prepare guidelines to regulate NGOs and Voluntary Organisations after finding that nearly 30 lakh of them were operating in India.

In its order, the Court noted that substantial funding is allowed for NGOs and voluntary organisations. Further, Rules 210-212 of the General Financial Rules, 2005 provide for a regulation mechanism for NGOs, though the respondents are not aware of the same. The court noted,

“There are 32 lakh NGOs out of which nearly 3 lakh are filing balance sheets. The respondents are not aware of the responsibility of audit in the General Financial Rules…There can be no doubt that the funds disbursed by CAPART [to NGOs] is public money and needs to be accounted.”

It, therefore, directed the Centre to complete the exercise of audit and submit a report by March 31 this year. It was directed,

“In case of non-compliance, it is essential to initiate civil and criminal action immediately after the completion of the exercise.”

Most importantly, the Court also directed the Centre to lay down guidelines/rules for accreditation of NGOs, the manner in which they shall maintain accounts and auditing of the same.

Centre proposes stringent guidelines for NGOs and VOs requiring all existing ones to register afresh online with Niti Ayog‘s NGO-Darpan. The guidelines submitted by additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta to a bench headed by CJI J S Khehar required them to register afresh if they wish to get govt grants.
It said NGOs will be provided unique ID and subjected to income tax act and foreign contribution regulations act. Centre’s draft guidelines say NGOs/VOs past track record and performance will be put under scrutiny before grant of accreditation. The NGOs and VOs getting govt funds are required to execute a bond to refund the amount with 10% interest if work not done.

However, detailed draft copies of guidelines not available so that can not comment on in dept detail.

SC asked amicus curiae Rakesh Dwivedi to submit his suggestions on the draft guidelines in two weeks.

Second Chance for FCRA Renewal, if you didn’t get.

Many of the organizations have already received Renewal from FCRA. However, some of the organizations have not apply for renewal or not applied in online format or not paid online fees, may not received FCRA Renewal.

Last date for filling FCRA renewal was 30.06.2016 by online. If your organization fail to do so, your FCRA registration certificate is deemed to have ceased w.e.f. 01.11.2016.

Yesterday, FCRA department has issued a list of total 11319 organizations whose registration certificate is deemed to have ceased w.e.f. 01.11.2016.

Check the list here.

Next Course of Action

These organizations have to apply for renewal –

  1. Login to your account in FCRA website
  2. File Complete FC3 form online
  3. Upload the required documents like Trust Deed and Registration Certificate
  4. Upload a Letter stating reason for not filling renewal earlier
  5. Pay fees online.

No renewal if not filled Annual Returns

It is also mentioned in the notice that renewal shall not be granted if earlier annual returns have not been filled by the organization.

Last date

Last date to file such renewal is 28.02.2017

How to file FC3 Renewal form online ?

Check out this video.

 

Demonetization and NGO – Dos and Don’ts

We know the current scenario of demonetization of old currency notes of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500. As every day new news coming in, it is difficult for us to decided what should be the correct step to deposit old notes.

Earlier, Trust and NGOs were already under the radar of the Government before demonetization,  now we can predict that more strict control coming in near future.

Let us discuss today about dos and don’ts by NGOs in a Question Answer Round.

Q – Can old notes be deposited in NGOs Bank Account and what is the time limit?

A – Yes, old notes can be deposited in NGOs Bank Account till December 30.

Q – How much cash can be deposited?

A – As such no limits, but not more than the CASH ON HAND AS ON 8th NOV.

Q – Can we take cash donation in Old notes now?

A – No. After 8th Nov, old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes are not valid tender.

Q – Can we take donation in cash in back dated and thus create more cash balance as on 8th Nov ?

A – I suggest NO. Just two days back, not confirmed but, IT (Exemption) of Mangalore has issued notices to NGOs to submit authorized copy of cash books as on 8th Nov with denomination.

Q – Can we deposit cash in FC in old notes ?

A – Yes you can deposit old notes in FC account but not more than cash balance of FC books as on 8th Nov. I suggest if the cash balance is not much amount  get it exchange with new notes.

Q – What about staff advance already given before 8th Nov in old notes?

A – Do not take bake the advance and deposit in the Bank. It is advisable to ask staff members to exchange it.

Q – What about Donation boxes lying outside the offices like at airports, malls etc..?

A – Immediately get all the donation boxes back and record its cash on books as donation and keep photographs before and after opening of boxes or record a video at the time of opening of boxes with the current date newspaper. So that later, NGO can prove that the donation boxes open after 8th Nov and there were old notes which were deposited in the bank.

Q – What is advisable regarding taking donations between 8th Nov to 30th Dec..?

A – As a genuine NGO, one should not accept any donation in CASH during this period. If you received donation in new notes, kindly take the proof of the donors and keep the bank deposit slips.

All the above answers are purely my opinion. If you have any further questions, kindly ask in the comment section below this blog.

 

Be Ready to fill Renewal of FCRA again

New Notification by FCRA

On 14th December, FCRA department has issued a notification regarding filling Renewal of FCRA form. You can download this notification here.

Let me summarize this notification –

  1. All the earlier application sent manually in Form FC-5 is now void.
  2. Need to apply again for renewal.
  3.  New Form is FC-3 – (Go to https://fcraonline.nic.in/home/index.aspx)
  4. Only Online Form FC3. Not accepted in manual or offline mode.
  5. Make Payment online. ( Does every organization have online banking account ?????  )
  6. Only those organization listed here are exempted for online payment (because their DDs and cheques are accepted) (What about other organization’s DD??????) – Download organization’s name – payments are accepted.

Many more doubts and questions come up in coming time. Let us give some time to study whole process. We will get back with easy info video on how to file Renewal of FCRA in FC3 form online. Till then watch this space for more info.

FC Grant Now exempt from Charity Contribution – Gujarat

Gujarat Government published in the Official Gazette on May 20, 2015 (Download it from here) regarding change in Gujarat Public Trust Act, 1950 and these rules may be called the “Bombay Public Trust (Gujarat) (Amendments) Rules, 2015. One of the major welcome change is to consider Foreign Grant as deduction for calculation of Charity Contribution.

Earlier, only local contribution/grants and government grants were allowed to deduct from amount liable to contribution. No such provision related to Foreign Grants deduction was there, because of old act since 1950 and never amended thereafter.

Change in Balance Sheet and Income Expenditure format –

Schedule VIII related to Balance Sheet and major change is to show balance in FCRA Bank account separately. Have a look –

charitybS

Schedule IX is related to Income and Expenditure Account  and major change is to show Grants in Foreign Money  separately. Have a look –

charityIE

Change in Schedule IX-C – Statement showing amount Liable to Contribution –

Major relief comes here, where it is notified in this revised schedule of IX-C, that Grant and Donation under FCRA is not chargeable to contribution under section 58 and rule 32. Lets have a look –

charity9C

From when it is applicable –

As no date specified in the official gazette, we interpret that any Statements prepared after May 20, 2015 (date of notification) must be prepared as per this new format.

Amendments in FCRA Rule 2015 (draft)

After a circular regarding DSC of chief functionary, FCRA Department has issued a circular on 17th June 2015, (Download from here)asking for suggestion on amendments to Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules, 2011 by Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules (2015).

THIS IS A DRAFT AMENDMENTS and suggestions or comments asked from public and other stakeholders on or before 1st July, 2015.

We are in the process of analyzing and studying all the changes in the amendments and it impacts. Meanwhile let us see important changes which are suggested in the amendments of FC Rules :

Website will become mandatory

After this amendments, every NGOs with FC registration will have to build a website. No, it is not declared directly as mandatory. But changes made to Rule 13(1) stating that every registered organization has to publish audited Income Expenditure, Receipt Payments and Balance Sheet of Foreign contribution to its website before 31st December of every year. Such website has to be declared as official website and is to be informed to FCRA department.

Have to publish Foreign Receipt within 7 days

Yes, you have to publish to your official website, every foreign receipts within seven days of receipts. Refer rule 13(B) of such draft amendments.

Bank will have to report in 48 hours

Bank will have to report of FCRA department within 48 hours of any transactions in respect of receipt and utilization of any foreign contribution. Refer rule 16 (2) of such draft amendments.

Online Procedures

We have already write a blog stating how FCRA department is eager to implement all the online procedure. Here in this amendments it is clearly mention that now onwards all the forms will be filled online through DSC and also you can make payment through online payment gateway.

Change in Forms

All the form numbers will be changed e.g. Annual Return Form FC-6 now become FC-4. Not only form numbers, but details and information given in the forms will also changed. We will soon post a blog showing what changes will be made in Forms.

You can give Suggestions

FCRA department has asked for suggestions on the above mentioned amendments from public. You can give your suggestions by email to Mr. A.K. Dhyani, Under Secretary to the Government of India on ak.dhyani@nic.in.

Alternatively you can give your suggestion in the comment box below. We will compile all the suggestions and email to the authority.

Note – This amendments are draft and not final. This will be implemented only after FCRA Rule, 2015 published in the Official Gazzette.

Yoga of NGO – Budget 2015

Amendments in Budget 2015 related to NGOs

Major Two changes are proposed to made in the definition of “Charitable Purpose”. One to include YOGA with other activities like Medical and Education and second Business activity limit is rationalize. Another change is to aim at curbing irregularity of  filling of Income Tax Return of NGO by making it mandatory to accumulate part of the income. Let us discuss one by one in detail.

Yoga is now included in the definition of Charitable Activity

Honorable FM has proposed to include “YOGA” as sixth item in the definition of Charitable Activity after “Education” activity. Let us understand this provision, this means any organization having main object of “YOGA” can get full exemption of its income, even though income earned from Business Activity related or not with YOGA.

Example :- A Gym Trainer wants to start a Gym. If he, instead of registering as Firm or Company, registered a Trust and get certificate of exemption u/s. 12A, having main object of Teaching Yoga, then  all the Income is exempted, weather it is from activity of Teaching yoga or normal exercise and gym activities.

Shape-Up-Trust

Business Activity of Trust

It is proposed by Honorable FM that Charitable Organization engaged in Advancement of any other object of General Public Utility can have incidental business activity up to the limit of 20% of Gross Receipts of the Organization. Earlier it was Rs. 25 Lacs for all the organization. This is a good effort to make this provision rationalize.

Accumulation of Income

Under Section 11, Organization can accumulate their part of Income for utilization in future years. To exercise this option, Organization has to file Form 1o to Assessing Officer along with Income Tax Return with resolution stating such accumulation of income. However due to lack of clarification, Time limit was not fixed for filling such Form 10 and return. Now Honorable FM has proposed that this type of Accumulation of Income is permitted only if Income Tax Return of NGO is filled with in time limit i.e. 30 September.

Few Other Changes

Under Section 35, words “Principal Chief Commissioner or Commissioner” inserted to whom feasibility report is to be submitted. Under section 80G, donation to “Swachh Bharat Kosh” and “Clean Ganaga Fund” are added.

Conclusion

Inserting Yoga activities in the charitable definition may reduce unnecessary legal litigation regarding that but on the other had Government has to create such mechanism so that business activity behind the mask of Yoga can be traced and properly taxed.

Pros and cons of per/km Travel Policy of NGO ?

In earlier posts, we have seen what should be good NGO Travel Policy.  As questions asked by many of my readers regarding each traveling policy in detail,  I inspire to write a blog on each  Traveling Policies prevailing in the NGO sectors in detail and also its advantages and disadvantages. Today, Let us take a traveling policy used by many NGOs, from small one to huge one, which is per kilometer charge to project.

Charging per kilometer to Funding Agency

We all know that NGOs have to agree on a specific budget with Funding Agencies. Many of the NGOs have decided per kilometer rate and charged to Funding Agency and created a Fund with whatever name, be it Vehicle Maintenance Fund, Vehicle Fund, Traveling Fund Reserve…. etc.. Now from this fund, actual expenses for travel (Fuel, Servicing, Oil etc…) is paid. Is this an ideal policy? In my opinion a BIG NO. One should avoid this policy. Lets us discuss positive and negative points of this travel policy of ngo. Start with Negative.

Why one should avoid this policy?

  1. The amount charged to Funding Agencies may or may not be same as actual total expenses of travel. This lead to generate surplus amount in your Vehicle Fund in your Balance Sheet at the end of the year.
  2. This give wrong impression, that you are saving some money from year to year from Projects supported by funding agency.
  3. Some NGOs even raise a Bill of Traveling to Funding Agency as support. This will lead into double entry of Income and expenses. First time entered as income in Grant Received and Project Expenses and second time Traveling Income by raising invoice and actual travel expenses. If you are doing this , stop it immediately.
  4. By using this you are violating terms of Project Agreement with Funding Agency. Because you agreed to spent budgeted money on specific Project. However when you adopt this policy, you are saving some money and not actually spending all as per agreed budget.
  5. As per FCRA rules, you have to spent Foreign Grants for the purpose it is received. You can not create reserve or Vehicle Fund  from FC money.
  6. When Vehicle Fund gets accumulated from year to year and showing balance of considerable amount on Liability side on Balance Sheet, it is assumed that you have that much amount in your Bank or FDs on the assets side correspondingly. This sometime become obstacles in getting fund from Funding Agencies.

What is the solution then ?

In my opinion, Actual expenses of travel to be booked to project. In supporting, original fuel bills, maintenance bills should be attached. In second level supporting, a Log book should be maintained. In case of more than one project, bills and expenditure should be divided proportionately.

Summary

Try to adopt that Traveling policy which suits your organization and your funding agencies more. My advice is, if you are following this travel policy, add one clause in the agreement with funding agency.

 

How to prepare Chart of Accounts in NGO

The new Financial Year is at the doorstep. There are some steps to be taken in the beginning of the year, so that the whole financial year will pass smoothly.  One of such step is to prepare Standard Chart of Accounts in NGO.

What is Chart of Accounts in general?

In common terms, chart of accounts means, ledger accounts and group accounts shown in books of accounts. For different types of business activity and entity, chart of accounts is different. To maintain uniformity throughout the financial year, it is advisable to have standard chart of accounts.

Chart of Accounts in NGO

Why Chart of Accounts require in NGO ? As we know, there is vast difference in ledger accounts of corporate world and ledger accounts of NGO, specifically ledger accounts of Income and Expenses Group. In Corporate World, common ledger accounts are Sales Account, Service Income Accounts, Purchases, Salary Account, Telephone Expenses, Office Expenses, Stationary Expenses etc… However in NGO, apart from above, we have to take care of Budget line items of particular funding agency, so mainly ledger accounts are equal to line item of budget. Here in NGO grouping is made according to projects. Thus it is one of important exercise accountant has to do is preparing Standard Chart of Account in NGO at the beginning of the year.

Steps to prepare Chart of Accounts in NGO

 

Step 1 : Identify all continuing projects and its ledger accounts

Al l the ledger accounts of the projects, which are continue as on 1st April, are to be identified and put on paper or prepare an excel sheet with grouping.

Step 2: Identify other common Income and Expenditure Accounts

Apart from Projects, if NGO is doing other activities, like income generation, production, consultancy assignments etc… then, one hast to identify this type of common income and expenditure accounts and add in to that excel sheet.

Step 3 : Balance Sheet Items

Chart of Accounts also includes even balance sheet items. There are mainly two types of Balance Sheet items, some of which are same from year to year like Trust Fund Account or Corpus Fund Account or Building Reserve Fund Account, Name of Bank Accounts etc …. and others are changing in nature like Salary Payable Account, Audit Fees Payable Account etc.. One has to incorporate both these type of balance sheet items in the list.

Step 4 : Grouping

After finalizing all ledger accounts, next step is to give group name to it. We can give grouping according to project name like Bal Vikas Shiksha Group Expenses or Mahila Suraksha Project Expenses. Also, for Balance Sheet items, group  name is given like Grant Unutilized, Receivable Grant etc…

Step 5 : Enter Chart of Accounts in Accounting Software

Once exhaustive list of accounts are prepared, it should enter into Accounting Software maintained by NGO. Either you have to enter chart of accounts manually in the software or you can import excel into accounting software if such facility is there. In Tally ERP9, you can easily import chart of account from excel sheet.

Example of Standard Chart of Accounts

Please check out below an example of Chart of Accounts prepared by me. This is standard example, you have to prepare according to your NGO’s project and expenditures.

chart-of-accounts-ngo

Summary

Chart of Accounts in NGO is to be prepared every year, because every year some projects are closed and some new projects are implemented by NGO. Looking to benefits of preparing chart of accounts, it is highly recommended that one has to spare some time right at the beginning of financial year to prepare chart of accounts in NGO.