How to set up a non-profit association in Romania

How to set up a non-profit association in Romania

By Madalina Anagnoste, Romania and Jesús Alamo Ascencio, Spain & EU
Last updated Tuesday, October 30, 2018

What a non-profit association is? An international approach
A non-governmental organization (abbreviated NGO) is an institution that works independently of government work, although some NGOs are partly or fully funded by it. Helmut K. Anheier estimates the number of international non-governmental organizations over 40,000. The number of national ones is even higher: Russia has 400,000 NGOs. It is estimated that India will have 1 to 2 million NGOs.

Non-profit associations in Romania
In Romania, in Law no. 246/2005 for the approval of the Government Ordinance no. 26/2000 on associations and foundations, NGOs are legal entities constituted by natural or legal persons pursuing activities in the general interest or in the interests of local authorities or, as the case may be, in their personal non-patrimonial interest.
Pursuant to OG 26/2000, the recognition of public utility status confers upon the association or foundation a series of obligations and rights, including the right to be given free-of-charge public property, the preferential right to resources from the state budget and local budgets, the obligation to maintain at least the level of activity and the performance that led to recognition.
In Romania, individuals can redirect 2% of income tax to non-governmental organizations. A study conducted in 2010 shows that only 60% of those who realize income know about this possibility. And, of those who are informed about this possibility, only a little more than half have actually acted in this respect, in 2009 the total donated amount was 117.3 million lei. The top beneficiaries are the church or church foundations, which benefited from 29% of those who redirected (34 million lei or 29%) [5]. SMURD (10%), Save the Children (9%), Children in Difficulty (6%) and the Red Cross (about 6%) are at a considerable distance. Also, about 8% of people have redirected 2% of income tax to various schools or foundations that support education or culture.
In 2008 the amount donated by redirecting 2% of the income tax was 48 million lei.
In 2011, the donated amount was over EUR 27 million.1,648,313 taxpayers redirected 2% of income tax, more than ten times more than in 2005, when only 145,000 people took advantage of this opportunity.

The procedure
The association is the subject of law constituted by three or more persons who, on the basis of an agreement, share and without the right to restitution their material contribution, knowledge or contribution to work for the performance of activities in the general, community or, in their interest, non-patrimonial personnel.
Under the constitutional law of association, natural persons may associate without establishing a legal person when the realization of the proposed purpose allows it.

The Association acquires legal personality by registering in the Register of Associations and Foundations at the Registry of the Court in whose territorial jurisdiction it is based. In order to acquire the legal personality, the associates conclude the constitutive act and the statute of the association, in authentic form, under the sanction of absolute nullity.

The Constitutive Act shall include:
a) identification data of the associates: name or denomination and, where appropriate, their domicile or headquarters;
b) expressing the will to associate and the proposed goal;
c) the name of the association;
d) the headquarters of the association;
e) the duration of the association – for a definite term, with express indication of the term or, as the case may be, for an indefinite period;
f) the initial patrimony of the association; the patrimonial asset of at least double the gross minimum salary on the economy at the date of the association constitution is made up of the in kind and / or money contribution of the associates;
g) the nominal composition of the first governing, management and control bodies of the association;
h) the person or persons empowered to carry out the procedure for acquiring the legal personality;
i) the signatures of the associates.
The statute shall include:
a) the purpose and objectives of the association;
b) the way of acquiring and losing the associate quality;
c) the rights and obligations of the associates;
d) the patrimonial categories of the association;
e) attributions of the management, administration and control bodies of the association;
f) the destination of the goods, in case of dissolution of the association, in compliance with the provisions of art. 60.
At the authentication of the constitutive act and the status of the association shall be presented the proof issued by the Ministry of Justice regarding the availability of the name of the new association.
Any of the associates, on the basis of the authorization given under art. 6 par. (2) lit. h) may file an application for registration of the Association in the Register of Associations and Foundations at the Registry of the Court in whose territorial jurisdiction the headquarters is to be located.
The application form will be accompanied by the following documents:
a) the constitutive act;
b) the status of the association;
c) proofs of the headquarters and the original patrimony.
The Association shall become a legal entity from the time of its registration in the Register of Associations and Foundations.

Number of associates
First of all, there must be at least 3 people interested in setting up the association, which has «full capacity to exercise civil rights» (which means in principle to be 18 years old and not to be «banned» by court decision – as is the case with those with severe mental disabilities who have a guardian although according to age they should no longer need a legal representative). It should be noted that married minors also have full exercise capacity, as if they were 18 years old. Some consider that juveniles aged 14-18 (or only 16-18 years old) could become members of an association (but not in its management and control bodies), but the issue raises many problems and limitations, too. practical reasons should be avoided if it is not really necessary by the nature of the association that is intended to be set up. It should also be remembered that the current legislation no longer imposes any condition related to citizenship, domicile or residence or right to work, so also foreign citizens and stateless persons may be founders of associations in Romania, unless a special restriction has been instituted against them In this regard.

Another very important factor that we need to know before you start to set up an NGO is related to the costs.
The Association is the organization made up of 3 or more people who, on the basis of an agreement, share and without the right to restitution their material contribution, knowledge or contribution to work for the pursuit of activities in general, community or, as the case may be, their non-patrimonial staff. The association is an expression of freedom of association, but also an effective means of exercising freedom of expression, allowing members to take an attitude in matters of public interest or interest to the community / group of its members.
In order to establish an Association, a relatively small patrimony, worth at least 200 lei, is needed at the date of the association’s establishment, which can be made up of the contribution in kind and / or money of the associates.
The Foundation is legally the subject of law set up by one or more persons who constitute a permanent, irrevocable, patrimony, the achievement of a general interest or, where appropriate, community interest. The original patrimonial asset of the foundation must include assets in kind or in cash, the total value of which is at least 100 times the gross minimum wage on the economy at the time of foundation.
The fundamental difference between the two types of entities resides in the fact that while the association is a sum of wills affected by the achievement of a goal, the foundation represents a patrimony that is affected by the achievement of a goal, with all its consequences, namely the existence of the members the association) and different requirements for the establishment of the legal person, a different structure of the management and administration bodies, as well as some of the conditions for dissolution and liquidation.
The budget is necessary to support the purpose for which the foundation was established.
The fee for setting up the NGO is 1,000 lei (the fee includes the following: drafting and attesting the constitutive act, drawing up and certifying the status of the NGO, drafting the contract).

Proof of availability name issued by the Ministry of Justice: 36 lei.
Stamp Judicial Fee: 100 lei.
Fee for legalization – 5 lei / copy.
The total costs for setting up NGOs are: fee + taxes = 1,200 lei plus the NGO’s initial patrimony (at the level of a minimum wage on the economy).
Representatives of independent citizen organizations are increasingly active in policy making at the United Nations. These organizations – known at the UN as «non-governmental organizations» or «NGOs» – are often the most effective voices for the concerns of ordinary people in the international arena. NGOs include the most outspoken advocates of human rights, the environment, social programs, women’s rights and more.

Ordinance no. 26/2000 on associations and foundations: