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Setting up an NGO

Founding an NGO (non-governmental organization) is not necessary difficult, but it requires following some well defined stages.

Step 1: Name reservation

The first step is choosing the name for the soon to be established NGO and obtaining proof of the availability of the chosen name at the Ministry of Justice. A fee is charged in the account of the Ministry of Justice, which is paid at the Financial Administration. A registration request and the proof of payment must be submitted at the Ministry of Justice’s Register.

If the person trying to found an NGO is not from Bucharest, he/she can send the aforementioned documents via mail. The proof shall be sent back within 14 days and it will be available for 3 months, starting with the release date.

Step 2: Drafting of the Constitutive Act and the Statute of the organization

Founding an NGO is not possigle without the existence of a Constitutive Act and a Statute. The Statute defines the purpose and the objectives of the association, while the Constitutive Act validates the founders’ decision to found the NGO and designates the leading committee. These documents shall be authenticated by a public notary and shall be certified by a lawyer, in several original copies.

Step 3: Headquarters

Depending on the nature of the space, there are different way of proving that the NGO is allowed to work in the registered office:

  • Authenticated bailment contract between the owner of the space and the NGO;
  • Unauthenticated copy of the lease agreement;
  • An agreement signed by the Executive Committee of the Owners’ Association, as well as the neighbours that have common walls, in case that the registered office is part of an apartment building.

In case of the latter, one should know that, if the owners of the four neighbouring apartments have agreed, the Owners’ Association is not entitled to refuse the application.

Step 4: Initial patrimony

The required minimum initial patrimony required to establish a NGO is equivalent to a current minimum wage. This sum shall be deposited in a supporting bank by completing a form, paying a small fee for opening an account and submitting an unauthenticated copy of the Contitutive Act.

The initial patrimony will be freezed until the NGO obtains the establishemnt resolution, when it can be transferred to the NGO’s bank account.

Step 5: Fiscal record

Under OG no. 75/2001, the establishment documentation of an NGO must contain the personal fiscal record (issued by the Ministry of Finance through the Administration of Public Finances) of each one of the applicants.

Since the fiscal record is only valid within the next 15 days following the release date, this step should be performed immediately before submitting the file to court.

Step 6: Submitting the file and presentation in court

In order to establish an NGO, one should submit in court a file containing the following:

  • The Constitutive Act;
  • The Statute;
  • Proof of registered office and initial patrimony;
  • Proof of name availability;
  • Fiscal records of associates;
  • A request for legal personality;
  • Judicial stamp;
  • The receipt proving payment of stamp duty.

After submitting the file, the applicant will receive a registration number. Within two days, the date and time of the court presentation will be displayed on the ministry’s website. The file can be judged in absentia, but presence is encouraged in order to avoid the file being rejected due to uncertainties.

Step 7: Issuance of civil sentence copies and entry in the Register of Associations and Foundations

Within two weeks following the sentence, the applicant must submit an application to the District Court for the issuance of the civil sentence and the registration certificate. The registration is done by default, no other actions being necessary.

Since these documents are the ones that establish the NGO’s legal personality, one should also ask for authenticated copies.

Step 8: Tax registration certificate

In order to obtain the tax registration certificate, the act under which the NGO is allowed to conduct financial transactions, the applicant is required to submit a file containing:

  • The Statute;
  • The Constitutive Act;
  • The court order;
  • The certificate of registration under the Register of Associations and Foundations;
  • Fiscal stamp;
  • Two 010 forms.

The file shall be submitted at the Puflic Finance Administration and the registration certificate will be issued within 10 days.

Step 9: Official stamp and special prints

The NGO’s stamp and special prints can be ordered based on the tax registration certificate and an ID copy. These are necessary because they will authenticate any document issued by the NGO.

Step 10: Bank account

In order to open a bank account associated with the NGO, the bank requires a file containing the Statute and Constitutive Act, the court order, the tax registration certificate. All of these must be presented in both copy and original (or legalized copy).