Financial Statements for charitable trusts registered under Maharashtra Public Trust Act, 1950

In Maharashtra all public charitable trusts are governed by the provisions of the Maharashtra Public Trust Act, 1950. There is a Charity Commissioner’s Office created as per the act which is responsible for registering and regulating the functioning of all public charitable trusts.

Every year the trust has to prepare financial statements like the Balance sheet and Income and expenditure statements based on its books of accounts. The act mandates that audited copies of such financial statements be filed with the regional Public Trust Office. It is mandatory to file the statements with the charity office within six months from the end of the financial year.

From financial year 2017 onwards, it is now mandatory to file these statements online. For the latest financial year, original due date was 30th September, 2020. However, due to COVID-19 outbreak, there have been a couple of extensions granted by the Hon. Charity Commissioner. As per the latest notification, the due date has been extended up to 31st Jan 2021

A lot of trustees, volunteers, accountants and auditors working with charitable trusts are however unaware or confused about the very basic provisions of law and accounting concepts which results in lot of errors while preparing these financial statements. To add to the confusion, since this act is applicable specifically to the state of Maharashtra, Chartered Accountants are not taught the provisions of this act during their academic course while studying for their CA exams. Therefore, not all CAs have complete information regarding audits of public charitable trusts.

Some common questions that trouble them are:

  • Is it compulsory for all trusts to file the financial statements? Or are there any exemptions!
  • Exactly what all documents constitute as ‘Financial Statements’ to be filed with charity office?
  • Are there any standard formats that need to be used in preparing these statements?
  • Who is responsible for filing them?
  • What are the consequences of non-filing?
  • How to file them online?

let us try to find out answers to some basic questions regarding the financial statements.

A] Is it compulsory of all trusts to file them or are there any exemptions?

The Act requires that all the trustees are collectively responsible to maintain books of accounts of the trust where in all receipts and payments are recorded. The financial year should start from 1st of April and end on the subsequent 31st March. Section 33 of the act makes it mandatory for all trust to get such accounts audited by a qualified Chartered Accountant or Auditor empaneled by the Charity Commissioner. However, the state government has exempted Public trusts having gross annual income below Rs 5,000 from audits. For all other Public trusts audit is compulsory.

B] Exactly what all documents constitute as ‘Financial Statements’ to be filed with charity office?

The Maharashtra Public Trust rules 1951 gives a list of documents that are collectively called as financial statements. These schedules are:

Doc NameDocument DescriptionWhen to prepareWho will Sign
Schedule VIIIBalance SheetAudit Cases3 Trustees and Auditor
Schedule IXIncome & Expenditure AccountAudit Cases3 Trustees and Auditor
Schedule IX AStatement of Income of the TrustNon-Audit Cases3 Trustees only
Schedule IX BStatement of Expenditure of the TrustNon-Audit Cases3 Trustees only
Schedule IX CStatement of Gross Income chargeable to ContributionAudit Cases3 Trustees and Auditor
Schedule IX DInformation to be submitted by the Auditor along with Audit ReportAudit Cases3 Trustees and Auditor
Audit ReportReport by the auditor on matters noted in section 34 of the act and Rule 19 of the Public Trust rules 1951.Audit CasesAuditor

Apart from this standard list, regional offices do ask for some additional certifications like ‘Donation Certificate’, ‘Corpus Certificate’ etc. It is recommended that the auditor reads notification no 364 dated 31st October, 2013 for understanding when, why and how such certificates are to be issued. This notification (in Marathi) is available at this link https://charity.maharashtra.gov.in/mr-in/circularserialwise 

C] Are there any standard formats that need to be used in preparing these statements?

These above documents are given as schedules to The Maharashtra Public Trust rules 1951. It is compulsory for the trustees and auditors to follow these formats strictly.

D] Who is responsible for filing them?

It is the collective responsibility of the auditors and the trustees to file these statements with the office of the respective regional charity commissioner before the due date. If there is a delay in filing, the regional office can charge penalty.

E] What are the consequences of non-filing?

If the financials are not filed with the regional office for a continuous period of time, the regional offices have been given authority to de-register the trust and freeze and take charge of the property of the trust. Please refer the homepage of the official website, https://charity.maharashtra.gov.in to find a list of charitable trusts that have been de-registered by the regional offices. Therefore, trustees have to be extra- careful and should ensure that filing of these statements is done regularly and before the due date.

F] How to file them online?

A detailed PowerPoint presentation is available for this on the website. Kindly refer the APPLICATION GUIDELINES tab on https://charity.maharashtra.gov.in homepage.

Hoping this article clarifies basic anomalies regarding preparation and filing of the financial statements. However, there are numerous practical difficulties that users face while actually preparing the statements and uploading them online. Readers are welcome to post them in the comments section. This writer is planning to bring them out one by one in articles to follow.

Parimal Bhave

Note: Mr. Bhave can be contacted at: parimal.bhave@gmail.com

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