Section 2(15): Definition of Charitable Purpose

Trust formed for charitable or religious purposes which are not intended to do commercial activities are allowed various benefits under the Income-Tax Act, inter-alia, exemption under section 11.

The term religious purpose is not defined under the Income-Tax Act.

However, Section 2(15)​ of the Act defines “charitable purpose” to include

  • relief of the poor,
  • education,
  • medical relief,
  • preservation of environment (including watersheds, forests and wildlife) and
  • preservation of monuments or places or objects of artistic or historic interest, and
  • the advancement of any other object of general public utility.

Provided that the advancement of any other object of general public utility shall not be a charitable purpose, if it involves the carrying on of any activity in the nature of trade, commerce or business, or any activity of rendering any service in relation to any trade, commerce or business, for a cess or fee or any other consideration, irrespective of the nature of use or application, or retention, of the income from such activity, unless—

(i) such activity is undertaken in the course of actual carrying out of such advancement of any other object of general public utility; and

(ii) the aggregate receipts from such activity or activities during the previous year, do not exceed 20% of the total receipts, of the trust or institution undertaking such activity or activities, of that previous year;