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Registering an NGO in Ukraine: documents, procedure, legal help

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Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a significant role in promoting social welfare, advocating for human rights, and addressing various societal issues in Ukraine. If you're considering establishing an NGO in Ukraine, this article will guide you through the registration process.

Choose the Legal Form and Name of Your NGO

Before registering an NGO in Ukraine, you need to choose the legal form and name of your organization. The most common legal forms for NGOs in Ukraine are non-profit organizations (NPOs) and charitable organizations (COs). The name of your NGO must be unique and not already registered with the Ministry of Justice.

Draft the Statute of Your NGO

The Statute is the founding document of your NGO, and it outlines the organization's objectives, structure, and governance procedures. The Statute must comply with the Ukrainian legislation on NGOs, and it must be approved by the founders of the organization.

Gather the Required Documentation

To register your NGO, you will need to submit the following documents to the Ministry of Justice:

  • A copy of the Statute of the organization
  • A copy of the minutes of the founders' meeting, where the Statute was approved
  • A list of the founders of the organization
  • A statement of intent to establish an NGO
  • A receipt confirming payment of the registration fee
  • A copy of the identification documents of the founders

Submit the Application for Registration

Once you have gathered all the required documents, you can submit your application for registration to the Ministry of Justice. The application must be signed by at least two founders of the organization. The Ministry of Justice will review your application within 30 days and issue a decision.

Register with Other Authorities

After registering with the Ministry of Justice, you will need to register with other authorities, depending on the activities of your NGO. For example, if your organization is involved in charitable activities, you will need to register with the tax authorities to obtain tax-exempt status.

Start Operating Your NGO

Once your NGO is registered, you can start operating your organization. It is essential to comply with the Ukrainian legislation on NGOs, maintain proper financial records, and submit annual reports to the Ministry of Justice.

Related article: I want to register a youth organization in Ukraine: how to do it?

Cons and Pros of registering NGO in Ukraine

Establishing an NGO in Ukraine can have many advantages. Some of the key benefits of establishing an NGO in Ukraine include:

  1. Addressing Critical Societal Issues: NGOs in Ukraine are instrumental in addressing critical societal issues, such as poverty, human rights abuses, environmental degradation, and corruption. NGOs can raise awareness, advocate for change, and provide direct assistance to those in need.
  2. Access to Funding: While funding opportunities for NGOs in Ukraine can be limited, there are still many potential sources of funding available. For instance, international organizations, donor agencies, and private foundations are all potential sources of financial support.
  3. Strong Legal Framework: Ukraine has a robust legal framework for NGOs, which provides a solid foundation for establishing and operating an organization. The legislation provides for freedom of association, the right to peaceful assembly, and the right to participate in public affairs.
  4. Public Trust: NGOs in Ukraine enjoy a relatively high level of public trust. People in Ukraine generally view NGOs as credible and trustworthy actors that are working towards the betterment of society.
  5. Partnership Opportunities: NGOs in Ukraine can also benefit from partnership opportunities with other organizations, both domestically and internationally. Partnering with other organizations can provide access to additional resources and expertise and enable NGOs to achieve more significant impact.

While establishing an NGO in Ukraine can have numerous benefits, there are also some challenges and potential drawbacks that you should be aware of:

  1. Bureaucratic Processes: The process of registering an NGO in Ukraine can be time-consuming and bureaucratic. You will need to prepare a substantial amount of documentation, which can take several weeks or even months to complete. Moreover, the approval process may be slowed down by government officials.
  2. Limited Access to Funding: Although there are various funding opportunities available for NGOs in Ukraine, competition for these resources can be intense. In addition, the Ukrainian government often provides limited financial support to NGOs, which can make it difficult to secure the necessary resources to operate the organization effectively.
  3. Complex Tax Regulations: NGOs in Ukraine are subject to complex tax regulations, which can be challenging to navigate. Failure to comply with tax laws can result in significant financial penalties.

Of course, all bureaucratic troubles can be avoided with the help of experienced lawyers. We offer you professional assistance in registering an NGO in Ukraine, including registration for foreign participants.

Related article: How can a foreigner open a public organization in Ukraine?

Taxes for NGO in Ukraine

NGOs in Ukraine are generally subject to taxes on their income, with some exceptions. However, there are some tax benefits available to NGOs, depending on their activities and the services they provide. Here is an overview of the tax implications for NGOs in Ukraine:

  1. Corporate Income Tax: NGOs are generally subject to corporate income tax on any profit generated from their activities. The current corporate income tax rate in Ukraine is 18%. However, NGOs that provide educational or healthcare services can be exempt from corporate income tax.
  2. Value-Added Tax (VAT): NGOs that provide certain goods and services may be required to pay VAT. However, some activities are exempt from VAT, such as healthcare, education, and social services.
  3. Property Tax: NGOs that own property are generally subject to property tax. However, NGOs that use their property for educational, scientific, or cultural purposes can be exempt from property tax.
  4. Social Security Contributions: NGOs must pay social security contributions for their employees, which are calculated based on the employee's salary.
  5. Tax-Exempt Status: NGOs that are engaged in charitable activities and meet certain requirements can apply for tax-exempt status. Tax-exempt status can provide significant tax benefits, including exemption from corporate income tax and VAT.

NGOs in Ukraine can apply for a special tax status, which can provide significant tax benefits. The special tax status is available for NGOs that meet certain requirements and are engaged in charitable activities.

To qualify for the special tax status, an NGO must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be registered as a non-profit organization with the Ukrainian government.
  2. Be engaged in charitable activities, such as the provision of healthcare, education, or social services.
  3. Not distribute any profits to its members or founders.
  4. Not engage in any commercial activities, except those related to its charitable purpose.
  5. Have a transparent and accountable governance structure.

Once an NGO is granted the special tax status, it can enjoy the following tax benefits:

  1. Exemption from Corporate Income Tax: NGOs with the special tax status are exempt from corporate income tax on any profit generated from their charitable activities.
  2. Exemption from VAT: NGOs with the special tax status are exempt from VAT on any goods or services provided in connection with their charitable activities.
  3. Reduced Property Tax: NGOs with the special tax status can benefit from a reduced property tax rate.
  4. Exemption from Import Tax: NGOs with the special tax status can be exempt from import tax on goods imported for their charitable activities.

It's important to note that the special tax status is subject to certain conditions and limitations. For instance, NGOs must provide regular reports on their activities and finances to the tax authorities to maintain their special tax status. Additionally, the special tax status is only available to NGOs that meet the criteria and engage in charitable activities.

It's essential to note that tax laws and regulations in Ukraine can be complex and subject to change. It's recommended that NGOs consult with tax professionals or legal experts to ensure they are complying with all applicable tax regulations.

Registering an NGO in Ukraine requires careful planning and compliance with the Ukrainian legislation. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can establish a successful NGO and make a positive impact on society.

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