PF, Provident Fund, also called the EPF, Employees’ Provident Fund is a government-instituted scheme under the Employee Provident Fund Act of 1952. The scheme is mandatory for employees who serve in an eligible organisation.
Under this scheme, you, the employee, and your employer contribute a certain amount every month. This money, as invested in a planned and regular manner, helps in building a corpus which you receive when you retire. As per this saving-cum-retirement scheme, as an employee, you contribute 10% to 12% of your basic salary towards this fund on a monthly basis. Your employer also adds a mirror amount. Gradually, this fund gains interest on a yearly basis. This corpus can then be used to make a partial or complete withdrawal, however, depending on a few factors and conditions.
As per the recent rulings:
- The Indian government would pay the employee’s as well as the employer’s contribution to the EPF for three more months, that is for June, July, and August. This benefit is, however, for the organizations that have up to 100 employees, and where 90% of the workers/ employees earn a salary of INR 15,000 or less. For non-government establishments, there has been a reduction in the EPF contribution. From 12%, it has now been brought down to 10%.
- The rate of interest applicable to the EPF contribution for the financial year 2020-21 is 8.5%.
If you want to know how to withdraw the PF amount, you first need to understand when the withdrawal can be made. Withdrawing the PF completely or partially also depends on a few terms and conditions, let us take a look:
Complete or Full Withdrawal of PF can be made in the following conditions:
- When you retire
- If you remain unemployed for over 2 months, however, for this you need to get an attestation from a gazetted office
You would not be allowed to make a full withdrawal when you are changing your job and don’t stay unemployed for 2 months or more
You can also make a Partial Withdrawal of your EPF in order to meet requirements such as marriage, purchase of house or land, renovations, payments of home loan, Covid treatment. However, there are certain fixed conditions that are to be met to make a partial withdrawal.
Ways to withdraw PF amount:
There are basically two ways to withdraw PF amount:
- How to withdraw PF Offline
To submit a physical application, you first need to download the Composite Claim Form, you can either fill the Aadhar or the Non Aadhar form depending on whether you have seeded your Aadhar number and your bank account on the UAN portal or not.
You can then fill in and submit the Composite Claim Form along with the attestation of the employer, at the authorized jurisdictional EPFP office.
Note: Recently, the government has amended the PF withdrawal rules, and has allowed self-attestation/ certification of the various certificates.
- How to withdraw PF Online?<
The online procedure to withdraw PF is streamlined and much easier, however, you need to make sure that:
- Your UAN should be active
- The registered mobile number should be functional and with you
- Your UAN should be linked to your Aadhar Card/ PAN and bank KYC details
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to file an online claim for PF withdrawal, once the prerequisites are over:
- Visit the UAN portal, or click the following link and reach the page directly https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface/
- In the specified field enter your UAN and password. Then enter the captcha
- Go to “Manage” and click on “KYC”, now carefully check all your KYC details
- After verifying the details, click “Online Services” and from the drop-down menu select Claim (Form-31, 19 & 10C)
- Your (Member’s) details will then be displayed on the screen. After entering your bank account number, click “Verify”
- You will now see the Certificate of Undertaking, click on YES
- Go to ‘Proceed for Online Claim’
- In the claim form, you would have to fill in the required details. You will be asked about the kind of claim you are making – Full or Partial. In case of partial withdrawal, only those options will be visible in dropbox, for which you qualify
- To withdraw your fund, you now need to select “PF Advance (Form 31)”. Fill in the purpose, the amount to be claimed, and your (employee’s) address
- When you click on the certificate to submit the application, you will be prompted to attach the scanned documents.
In most cases, it takes about 15-20 days for the money to be credited to your bank account.
Types of PF withdrawals:
For the members who are subscribed to the EPFO, and who have also seeded their Aadhaar card details with the Universal Account Number, UAN, there are three types of PF withdrawals:
- Provident Fund Final Settlement
This kind of PF settlement is made when you have reached your age of retirement and your employment has been terminated
In case of death of the subscriber, the PF amount is paid to the nominee and the PF is settled
- Provident Fund Partial Withdrawal
Such a claim settlement is made when you withdraw a specific portion from the PF corpus to fulfil a financial commitment
- Pension Withdrawal Benefit
If you complete 10 years of continuous service, you will be eligible for pension benefits post your retirement.
Eligibility & Important EPF withdrawal rules
The Employees Provident Fund Organisation, EPFO, recently made certain changes in the withdrawal rules of PF, making it easier for the employee to draw from his PF balance. These innovations can prove to be very crucial in case you are in a financial crisis and are in a pressing need of money.
Let us take a look at the PF withdrawal rules
- In wake of the pandemic, the EPFO has released the subscribers to take out money from the PF as a non-refundable advance. Up to 3 months’ salary/ wages along with the dearness allowance, DA, or 75% of the standing balance in the PF account (whichever is less) can be withdrawn.
PF Withdrawal Rules after Retirement
- On your retirement, you would have to apply to get your EPF amount
- You can apply for the claim in two ways – Offline and Online
- The PF would be tax-free
- In case you do not withdraw these funds for a period of 3 years, the interest that you earn would be taxable
PF Withdrawal Rules before a period of 5 years:
- In case the Provident Fund is withdrawn within 5 years of the opening of the PF account, the amount is taxable, the tax depends on the income slab in which you fit
- If the amount of withdrawal is below INR 50,000, no TDS will be subtracted
- When changing your job, it is not mandatory to withdraw the PF collected, you can transfer it into a new account
- Loan or partial withdrawal from the EPF is allowed
PF Withdrawal Rules after a period of 5 years
- You can withdraw 90% of the corpus 1 year before you retire after you turn 54
- 75% of the PF can be withdrawn if you remain unemployed for 1 month, the remaining 25% can be withdrawn when the second month of unemployment is over
Limits of EPF partial withdrawal:
It is also important to understand that there are certain conditions that you need to fulfil in case you wish to make a partial withdrawal from your PF account:
- Withdrawal for medical reasons
You can withdraw an amount up to six times your monthly basic salary or a total of the employee’s share plus interest, whichever may be lower for the medical treatments of self, spouse, children or parents.
- Withdrawal for marriage
The employee can withdraw an amount of up to 50% of his share of contribution to the EPF for the marriage purpose of self, son/daughter, brother/sister.
- Withdrawal for education
The employee can withdraw an amount of up to 50% of his share of contribution to the EPF for the educational purpose of the account holder or child.
- Withdrawal for purchase of land or construction/purchase of a house
You can withdraw:
Withdrawal for repayment of home loan
- For the land: an amount up to 24 times your monthly basic salary plus dearness allowance.
- For the house: an amount up to 36 times your monthly salary plus dearness allowance.
You can withdraw an amount up to 35 times your basic monthly salary plus dearness allowance for the repayment of your home loan.
Withdrawal for house renovation
The employee can withdraw either an amount up to 12 times his monthly salary plus dearness allowance or the employee’s contribution plus interest or the total cost of renovation (whichever is the lowest).
Partial withdrawal before retirement
Once the employee reaches 54 years of age, he can withdraw an amount up to 90% of the accumulated balance with interest considering there is one year left in his retirement.
How to get the PF withdrawal application processed through your previous employer?
If you are leaving your job or switching your company, getting your PF withdrawal application processed by your previous employer can be done on an easy note by contacting the HR team of the company. Generally, companies ask for a duly filled PF withdrawal form and a blank cheque to get your PF request processed with the help of the EPF office. Maintaining good relations with the HR manager will definitely help ease the process.
How to Withdraw PF amount without employer’s signature
For withdrawal of your PF, you need your previous employer to authenticate this transfer. This can sometimes be a tedious task. Many subscribers feel that this is not a very employee-friendly situation, as many employees do not leave their previous jobs on pleasant terms. Thankfully, with the UAN, this has been made easy.
You can apply for the withdrawal of PF online through the web page of EPF, however, you would have to ensure that:
- Your UAN, Universal Account Number, is activated
- The registered mobile number required to activate the UAN is functional
- Your UAN is linked with your KYC, this includes your bank details, Aadhar Card and PAN
So, as an employee, you need to be mindful and keep these requirements fulfilled. This will ensure a smooth and easy withdrawal of your hard-earned EPF.
Why is early PF withdrawal not a good idea?
PF amount is gradually built on for each employee’s retirement purpose and fosters the habit of saving for your future. In a situation where you are switching jobs, PF should always be transferred and not withdrawn. Early withdrawal of PF is not advisable because of the following reasons:
- It’s a corpus for your future
PF amount that is saved for the employee’s stress-free retirement life will suffer and the employee can experience money related difficulties in the future
- You’ll have to pay taxes
Taxes shall be levied on the interest earned through the PF amount to the employee if he withdraws the amount within 5 years of opening the account.
- You’ll lose out on interest
Compound interest on the EPF amount is added at a rate of 8.5% that holds the ability to double your PF balance in about a period of 8 years. But if you withdraw from your PF amount then it loses the power of compounding
- It is a risk-free saving
If you are someone who wants to withdraw from the PF balance to invest in real estate or other avenues, you should think twice. It might be a possibility that you do not get a good return on your investment, or in the worst case even face a loss. This way you will lose your invested money as well as your PF balance would also be broken.
- Replenishing it is difficult
When you withdraw from your PF balance you get an option to replenish it as soon as possible. But it is a general tendency of people to not be able to refund the money which in return makes their PF balance suffer.
What are the situations when PF withdrawal can become difficult?
You might want to withdraw your PF amount before retirement, due to numerous reasons but at times there are situations where you can face difficulty in withdrawing your PF balance amount. Let us take a look at some of such examples:
- Mr Vinayak had left his previous job and wished to withdraw his PF amount from his previous employer. Despite him submitting all the documents to his previous employer, the latter did not do anything about the form. It’s been 4 months and still, his ex-employer has not started the process of his PF withdrawal.
- Ms Shalini who had already left her job 7 years ago thought of withdrawing her PF balance assuming it would have increased quite a bit by now. But to her surprise when she started the process, she got to know that the company she worked in had already shut down 3 years ago. Now she doesn’t know how to claim her PF amount back from the company.
To make sure these difficult situations don’t affect your PF withdrawal process, you might need to take care of the following factors:
- Make sure you upload clear scanned images of your passbook or chequebook.
- Make sure you have mentioned your bank account number and IFSC code correctly.
- Make sure your account holds sufficient balance as according to the rules, an employee is eligible for the withdrawal of PF only after they have contributed for at least three months and above.
- Take care that all your documents are rightly submitted and are in coordination with your UAN to make the process hassle-free.
- Before leaving your job, or while in the job you must also ensure that your UAN is active.
- It’s also prudent to keep your mobile number used for UAN registration active
- Keeping the Aadhar Card, PAN and other KYC details linked to the UAN number is also essential.
Requirements of PF withdrawal:
The first requirement for your withdrawal is the UAN. If you do not have it, please get in touch with your employer. Some of the most common documents that are required for the withdrawal of your Provident Fund balance are listed here:
- Duly filled and signed Form 19
- Duly filled and signed Form 10C and Form 10D
- Duly filled and signed Form 31
- Statement from the bank account
- Revenue stamp INR 1
- Your identity proof
- Your address proof
- A blank cancelled cheque shall be provided only from a single account. The IFSC code and the account number should be visible on the cheque
- Date of birth certificate of the child, if applying for Scheme Certificate
- Death Certificate, if the claim application is from the nominee/ legal heir
What is a PF joint declaration form and the procedure to fill it?
An EPF joint declaration form is used to correct, update or modify the wrong information of the employee in his PF like his name, father’s name, date of birth, his joining and exit date from the establishment.
- Write the date of submission of the PF joint declaration form to the EPF office.
- Write the address of the regional EPF office to which the submission is to be made.
- Write your and your establishment’s name correctly.
- Write the correct details followed by the wrong details in the blank for the following:
Attach a document of identification like Aadhar card, PAN card, etc.
Sign the form and get it attested from an authority along with the establishment’s seal.
Submit the form and wait for the corrections to be made within a period of 30 days.
Along with the PF joint declaration form, a request letter shall also be written to the company for the correction of the details.
- Father/Husband’s name
- Date of birth
- PF/EPS account number
- Date of joining and exit from the establishment.
Tax-free limit for PF withdrawals
Under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the contributions you make towards your EPF is tax-deductible. Let us take a look at the tax implications:
- TDS will be deducted in case you withdraw the PF with 5 years of PF account opening
- In this 5-year period, previous employer tenure is also included, so even if you have transferred the balance from an old account to a new one, your total employment period will be considered
- TDS would not be subtracted if your total employment is 5 years or more
- Total employment will not be added for employment where you are not on the permanent roll
- If the amount of withdrawal is below INR 50,000, no TDS will be subtracted
- The contribution of the employer towards the EPF is completely taxable
Taxability on PF withdrawal- Rules
When PF is withdrawn within 5 years, but the withdrawal is less than INR 50,000
No TDS, but in case you fall in the taxable slab, you would be required to offer the withdrawal in Return of Income
When PF is withdrawn before 5 years due to:
- Termination of employment due to your ill health
- Your business is discontinued
- Withdrawal reasons are beyond your control
When PF is withdrawn within 5 years, and the withdrawal is more than INR 50,000
No TDS if Form 15G/ 15H is furnished
10% TDS if PAN details are furnished
When PF is withdrawn after 5 years
Transfer of PF from the old account to new
What are the types of EPFO grievances?
These are some of the issues where a grievance can be filed:
- Withdrawal of EPF or final settlement of EPF
- Transfer of PF balance into another EPF account
- Insurance benefit payment or Form 5
- Final settlement for pension
- Cheque misplaced/returned issue
- Queries regarding your PF balance
- Employee’s pension scheme certificate
- Other issues related to PF.
How to apply for a home loan based on your EPF accumulation?
An employee who has been contributing to the PF for a minimum of three years can withdraw it to fulfil his housing needs. To apply for a home loan first of all you need to get Form 31, the steps to which are:
- Visit the EPFO portal and log in using UAN details.
- Under the “online services’ section, select the ‘Claim’ option.
- Enter your bank account number per your UAN and click on ‘verify’
- If your bank account number gets verified according to that seeded against UAN, you can avail the Form 31.
- Fill in the details required by the form and submit it with the necessary documents to your organization to successfully apply for your home loan.
Given below are the details to be filled in Form 31
- Account number of the EPF from which you plan to avail the advance
- Bank account details where you want the advance to be transferred
- Your salary details
Alternative ways to save taxes
There are many benefits of understanding how Income Tax works, as once you comprehend the basics, you would be able to save on taxes through the various exemptions and deductions. Let us take a look at the different ways to save on taxes:
- Proper use of Section 80C
You must know by now that under this Section you are allowed a deduction up to INR 1.5 lakhs. You can claim investments in:
- ELSS Mutual Funds
- Life Insurance plans
- National Saving Certificate
- EPF, Employees Provident Fund
- Health Insurance
A health insurance plan is the basis of a strong financial plan. It would not only prevent you from digging into your savings in time of a medical emergency but also help you save on taxes. The premiums that you pay towards your health insurance is exempted under Section 80D up to INR 1 lakh.
- Buy your Home
When you avail of a home loan to buy your own house, you can claim a tax deduction. Under Section 80C, the principal that you pay would be eligible as a deduction, while the interest would be tax-exempt under Section 24(b).