10,000 NGOs may face action for not filing FCRA returns

The Times of India published an article titled, “10,000 NGOs may face action for not filing FCRA returns.” The article reads as follows;

“The home ministry is contemplating penal action against around 10,000 NGOs that have not filed their missing annual returns under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules, 2011, for all for some years between 2010-11 to 2014-15, despite the one-month grace window offered by the home ministry to do the same. Ministry sources said as many as 286 NGOs that were yet to file the returns for a single year upon expiry of grace period on June 15, 2017, could face cancellation of registration under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) and review of renewal already granted. For the remaining defaulters with partial compliance, action is still being discussed and may be graded depending on the level of compliance.

The home ministry had, upon noticing that as many as 18,523 NGOs registered under FCRA had not filed their annual returns for some or all five years between 2010-11 and 2014-15, issued a public notice on May 12 asking them to file the same between May 15 and June 15. While describing it as a last chance for the defaulting NGOs, the ministry had assured them that no late fee would be imposed for late filing of returns.

Of the 18,523 defaulting NGOs as on May 14, 2017, as many as 1,835 had not filed returns for all five years in question, 5,766 had not done so for four years, 4,379 for three years, 3,398 for 2 years and 3,145 for one year.

At the end of the grace period, while 8,267 NGOs completely fell in line by filing annual returns for all five years, 2,239 did so for four missed years, 2,072 for three years, 2,057 for two years and 2,339 for one year. As many as 1,549 of the 1,835 NGOs who had not filed annual returns for a single year between 2010-11 to 2014-15, in gross violation of FCRA and Rule 17 of FCRR, have done so now.

Home ministry sources said the ministry is contemplating a graded response depending on the extent of compliance by the aforesaid NGOs, with the 286 defaulters yet to file a single return most likely to face cancellation of registration and review of renewal already granted. “As for the remaining, the likely penal action is still being discussed….Chances are that a graded penalty may be imposed, with the NGOs that have filed returns for four of five years being shown leniency and those who have filed returns for just one year facing tougher penalty,” said a home ministry spokesperson.

There are roughly around 25,000 NGOs in the country registered under FCRA.”

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