Charity and Nonprofit Law in the Philippines: Legal Requirements for NGOs and Charitable Organizations

Charitable organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a vital role in addressing societal needs and promoting social change in the Philippines. To ensure the transparency, accountability, and legitimacy of these organizations, the country has established specific legal requirements for their operation. In this blog, we will explore the key legal considerations and requirements for NGOs and charitable organizations in the Philippines.

Registration Process

To operate legally, NGOs and charitable organizations must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a non-stock, non-profit corporation. The registration process involves submitting necessary documents such as articles of incorporation and by-laws, along with paying the required fees. This step establishes the legal status of the organization and enables it to enjoy certain benefits and privileges.

Non-Profit Status

To qualify as a charitable organization or NGO, the entity must operate exclusively for charitable, educational, cultural, or similar purposes. Its income and assets must be used solely for these purposes, and profit-making activities are generally prohibited. This requirement ensures that the organization's focus remains on its mission and serves the best interests of the community it aims to support.

Governing Documents

NGOs and charitable organizations must have clear and comprehensive articles of incorporation and by-laws. The articles of incorporation outline the organization's objectives, while the by-laws specify its governance structure, membership, and operational guidelines. These documents must comply with the requirements set by the SEC and serve as a guide for the organization's operations and decision-making processes.

Board of Trustees

A charitable organization is required to have a board of trustees composed of at least five natural persons. These individuals should possess a good reputation, and expertise in the organization's field of work, and be residents of the Philippines. The board of trustees holds the responsibility of guiding and overseeing the organization's activities, ensuring compliance with legal requirements, and safeguarding the organization's interests.

Tax Exemptions

Qualified charitable organizations may apply for tax exemptions from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). To be eligible, the organization must meet certain criteria, such as operating exclusively for charitable purposes and using its income and assets solely for these purposes. The application process involves submitting relevant documents, including articles of incorporation, by-laws, and financial statements. Tax exemptions provide financial relief to organizations, allowing them to allocate more resources to their philanthropic initiatives.

Reporting and Transparency

NGOs and charitable organizations are required to submit annual reports to the SEC. These reports include financial statements and a list of projects or activities undertaken during the year. By maintaining transparency in their operations, organizations ensure accountability and build trust with their stakeholders. Additionally, government authorities have the right to inspect their records and accounts to ensure compliance with regulations and ethical practices.

Fundraising Regulations

NGOs and charitable organizations must comply with regulations regarding fundraising activities. They should secure the necessary permits from local government units to conduct fundraising events and disclose accurate information to donors regarding the purpose, beneficiaries, and use of funds. These regulations are in place to protect the interests of donors and ensure that funds raised are used for their intended charitable purposes.

Foreign Funding

NGOs and charitable organizations that receive foreign funding must register with the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC). Registration with the PCNC is essential to be eligible for tax incentives and other benefits. The PCNC certifies NGOs and ensures that foreign funding is used for legitimate purposes, promoting transparency and accountability in the sector.


Adhering to the legal requirements for NGOs and charitable organizations is crucial to ensure their legality, transparency, and effectiveness in addressing societal needs. By following the registration process, maintaining non-profit status, complying with reporting obligations and fundraising regulations, and upholding transparency in their operations, NGOs and charitable organizations can effectively fulfill their missions and gain the trust of stakeholders.

It is important to note that the information provided in this blog is a general overview of the legal requirements for NGOs and charitable organizations in the Philippines. The specific requirements may vary depending on the nature and activities of the organization. Therefore, it is advisable for organizations to consult legal professionals or seek guidance from the SEC, BIR, or PCNC for more detailed and up-to-date information on compliance and legal requirements.

Operating within the legal framework ensures that NGOs and charitable organizations can focus on their core mission of making a positive impact in the community. By understanding and fulfilling these legal requirements, organizations can contribute to the betterment of society, uplift marginalized communities, and drive positive change in the Philippines.

Remember, compliance with the law not only protects the organization's reputation but also ensures that resources are used efficiently and ethically to serve the intended beneficiaries. Through transparency, accountability, and adherence to legal requirements, NGOs and charitable organizations can effectively navigate the complex landscape of charity and nonprofit law in the Philippines and continue to make a difference in the lives of those they serve.

Pinoy Attorney

Written by : Pinoy Attorney