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Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), also referred to as PF (Provident Fund), is a mandatory savings cum retirement scheme for employees of an eligible organisation. The employees can fall back on the corpus of this fund post-retirement.
As per the EPF rules, the employees must contribute 12% of their basic pay every month to this fund. The employer contributes a matching amount to the employee’s PF account. The amount deposited in EPF accounts earns interest on an annual basis.
Employees can withdraw the entire sum accumulated in their EPF once they retire. However, this article explains how one can make premature withdrawals from the EPF account after meeting certain conditions.
The EPFO gives an interest rate of 8.1% to subscribers of the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) for 2021-22. It was the lowest interest rate since 1977-78, when the EPF interest rate was 8%.
Starting FY 21-22, interest on employee’s contribution to an EPF account above Rs 2.5 lakh during the financial year is taxable in the hands of the employee. This interest is also subject to TDS under section 194A.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India has announced a scheme called Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), under which the employer and employee will receive contributions to the EPF account of employees for three months from March 2020, April 2020 and May 2020. The benefit is for establishments with up to 100 employees and where 90% of those employees draw a salary of less than Rs 15,000 per month. The contribution to EPF is reduced to 10% from 12% for non-government organisations. The scheme is further extended to June 2020, July 2020 and August 2020.
One may choose to withdraw EPF entirely or partially.
EPF can be withdrawn entirely only under the following two circumstances:
Individuals cannot make a complete withdrawal of EPF balance while switching employers if they don’t remain unemployed for two months or more (i.e. the interim period between changing jobs).
Partial withdrawal of EPF balance can be made only under certain circumstances. They are explained in the table below.
|Sl. No.||Particulars of reasons for withdrawal||Limit for withdrawal||No. of years of service required||Other conditions|
|1||Medical purposes||Lower of below:|
i. Six times the monthly basic salary, or
ii. The total employee’s share plus interest,
|No criteria||Medical treatment of self, spouse, children, or parents|
|2||Marriage||Up to 50% of employee’s share of contribution to EPF||7 years||For the marriage of self, son/daughter, and brother/sister|
|3||Education||Up to 50% of employee’s share of contribution to EPF||7 years||Either for account holder’s education or child’s education (post matriculation)|
|4||Purchase of land or purchase/construction of a house||For land – Up to 24 times of monthly basic salary plus dearness allowance.|
For house – Up to 36 times of monthly basic salary plus dearness allowance,
The above limits are restricted to the total cost.
|5 years||i. The asset, i.e. land or the house, should be in the employee’s name or jointly with the spouse.|
ii. It can be withdrawn just once for this purpose during the entire service.
iii. The construction should begin within 6 months and must be completed within 12 months from the last withdrawn instalment.
|5||Home loan repayment||Least of below: |
i. Up to 36 times of monthly basic salary plus dearness allowance, or
ii. Total corpus consisting of employer and employee’s contribution with interest, or
iii. Total outstanding principal and interest on housing loan
|10 years >||i. The property should be registered in the name of the employee or spouse or jointly with the spouse.|
ii. Withdrawal permitted subject to furnishing of requisite documents as stated by the EPFO relating to the housing loan availed.
iii. The accumulation in the member’s PF account (or together with the spouse), including the interest, has to be more than Rs 20,000.
|6||House renovation||Least of the below:|
i. Up to 12 times the monthly wages and dearness allowance, or
ii. Employees contribution with interest, or Total cost.
|5 years||i. The property should be registered in the name of the employee or spouse or jointly held with the spouse|
ii. The facility can be availed twice:
a. After 5 years of the completion of the house,
b. After the 10 years of the completion of the house
|7||Partial withdrawal before retirement||Up to 90% of accumulated balance with interest||Once the employee reaches 54 years and withdrawal should be before one year of retirement/superannuation (retirement fund for employees by the company)|
Here, it would be relevant to mention that the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation has allocated UAN, i.e. the Universal Account Number compulsory for all the employees covered under the PF Act. The UAN would be linked to the employee’s EPF account. The UAN remains portable throughout an employee’s lifetime, and there is no need to apply for EPF transfer at the time of changing jobs.
Broadly, the withdrawal of EPF can be made either by submitting:
Download the new Composite Claim Form (Aadhaar)/Composite Claim Form (non-Aadhaar) to withdraw the EPF balance.
One may also note that in case of partial withdrawal of EPF amount by an employee for various circumstances as discussed in the above table, very recently, the requirement to furnish various certificates has been alleviated, and the option of self-certification has been introduced for the EPF subscribers. (For details, you can refer to order dated 20.02.2017 of the EPFO)
The EPFO has come up with an online withdrawal facility, which has made the entire process more comfortable and less time-consuming.
To apply for the withdrawal of EPF online through the EPF portal, make sure that the following conditions are met:
If the above conditions are met, there is no need for the previous employer to attest to your withdrawal application.
Step 1: Visit the UAN portal.
Step 2: Log in with your UAN and password. Enter the captcha.
Step 3: Click on the ‘Manage’ tab and select ‘KYC’ to check whether your KYC details such as Aadhaar, PAN and bank details are verified or not.
Step 4: Once the KYC details are verified, go to the ‘Online Services’ tab and select the option ‘Claim (Form-31, 19 & 10C)’ from the drop-down menu.
Step 5: The following screen will display the member details, KYC details and other service details. Enter your bank account number and click on ‘Verify’.
Step 6: Click on ‘Yes’ to sign the certificate of the undertaking and then proceed.
Step 7: Now, click on ‘Proceed for Online Claim’.
Step 8: In the claim form, select the claim you require, i.e. full EPF settlement, EPF part withdrawal (loan/advance) or pension withdrawal, under the tab ‘I Want To Apply For’. If the member is not eligible for any of the services like PF withdrawal or pension withdrawal due to the service criteria, that option will not be shown in the drop-down menu.
Step 9: Then, select ‘PF Advance (Form 31)’ to withdraw your fund. Further, provide the purpose of such advance, the amount required and the employee’s address.
Step 10: Click on the certificate and submit your application. You may be asked to submit scanned documents for the purpose you have filled the form. The employer will have to approve the withdrawal request, and then only you will receive money in your bank account. It usually takes 15-20 days to get the money credited to the bank account.
EPF Form 19
You must use the EPF Form 19 to withdraw EPF funds for the final settlement. The EPF Form 19 is essentially a two-page form that contains the following sections.
The first page of the form displays the member’s name, father or spouse’s name, Date of birth, name and address of the establishment, Date of joining and Date of leaving the company, PF Account Number and UAN, full postal address, PAN (Permanent Account Number), reason for leaving the organisation, mode of payment and the employer and employees signature.
You will find the advance stamped receipt on the second page of the form. You must fill this section only if you select cheque as the payment mode.
How to fill the EPF Form 19?
You can apply to withdraw or transfer the EPF corpus when you are quitting or changing your job. You can fill out the EPF Form 19 online or offline to remove your EPF amount.
Steps for filling the EPF Form 19 online:
Steps for filling the EPF Form 19 online:
You must download Form 19 from the EPFO portal and take a printout. You then fill up the PF account number, bank account number and IFSC code, PAN, joining and exit date of your employment, permanent address, mode of remittance, Re one revenue stamp and a cancelled cheque to verify the bank account.
EPF Form 31
You can use Form 31 for a partial withdrawal or to avail of an advance from the EPF account. You can access Form 31 from the UAN portal. However, you need your bank account details, PAN, and Aadhaar details to be updated on the portal to apply for EPF advance.
How to download EPF Form 31?
You can download Form 31 by visiting the EPFO portal or accessing the link.
How to submit EPF Form 31 online?
What is Form 10C?
You have to fill and submit Form 10C online to withdraw or transfer your EPS (Employee Pension Scheme) Amount. You can download the form at the following link:
How to Fill the Form 10C online?
You can borrow up to 36 times your last monthly contribution to purchase a home. If you are purchasing land, you can borrow up to 24 times your last monthly contribution. You must be in service for five consecutive years to avail of the loan.
You can follow the procedure given below to apply for a home loan based on your EPF account balance:-
Apply for a home loan through the housing society and send the application to the EPF Commissioner in the format specified in Annexure 1. The EPF Commissioner will issue a certificate stating the monthly contribution to your EPF account over the last three months.
Alternatively, you can take a printed copy of your EPF passbook to show the last three months’ contribution and submit it to the housing society to get an estimate of the loan amount you can get from the EPF balance.
You can follow the steps below to apply for a home loan through the UAN member portal:-
Step 1: Log in to the UAN Member e-Sewa portal.
Step 2: Select the ‘Online Services’ tab and click on the ‘Claim (Form-31, 19 & 10C)’ option.
Step 3: Member details will be displayed. Enter your bank account number registered with EPF and click ‘Verify’.
Step 4: Select ‘Yes’ to sign the certificate.
Step 5: Select the ‘Proceed for Online Claim’ option and provide the reason for requesting an advance next to ‘I Want to Apply For’. The corresponding options will only be displayed if you are eligible from the years of service perspective.
Step 6: Select ‘PF Advance (Form 31)’ to withdraw your funds as an advance or loan. Also, enter the amount you would like to avail of and the employee’s address.
Step 7: Click on the certificate and apply. If prompted, you may be required to upload relevant documents.
Step 8: EPFO processes your application. On approval, EPFO makes the payment to the housing society directly.
You will have to fill the PF withdrawal form and submit it at the Regional Provident Fund Office. Moreover, you can easily check the jurisdiction of your PF office through the alpha-numeric Provident Fund Account Number which shows your state and location from your salary slip.
You will have to follow the old process of PF withdrawal where you submit your identity attestation from a bank manager or magistrate or gazette officer.
How to download Form 15G for EPF withdrawal?
You can download Form 15G from the EPFO portal or the website of major banks.
Form 15G to claim EPF amount without TDS:
The new Form 15G has two parts. Part-1 of Form 15G has the name of the individual, PAN, Residential Status, Financial Year, Permanent Address and mobile number.
You must include the estimated income for which the declaration is made (It includes employee and employer provident fund contributions and not the EPS contribution). The other section is filled by the institution paying the income.
Yes, EPF contributions are tax-deductible under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
Yes, you can increase your EPF contributions and contribute up to 100% of your basic pay. Such contribution goes to Voluntary Provident Fund (VPF) account.
No, the employer’s contribution will remain the bare minimum regardless of you opting for VPF.
As per new amendments in the EPF norms, you can withdraw the EPF account without the employer’s permission.
Yes, on meeting certain conditions, you can make premature withdrawals by producing documentary evidence.
Once you quit the job or leave a company and join elsewhere, the EPF account will no longer receive monthly contributions. However, it does not mean that the account will become inactive.
The new employer will create a new EPF account for you when you join another company under the same UAN. You can then request EPFO to merge the previous EPF account with the new one.
In case you do not join a new employer, an additional grace period of three years will be provided for you from your last contribution to withdraw your EPF balance in full. If you fail to do so, your EPF account will be declared inactive. You may have to go through complex procedures to get access to this money.
If you resign from your job before the age of 58 years your EPF account will be inoperative if you do not apply for EPF withdrawal within 36 months from the date you are eligible to make the application. After your EPF account becomes inoperative you won’t earn further interest on it.
You can consolidate multiple EPF accounts into one account through your UAN (Universal Account Number). You can quickly generate it online if you don’t have a UAN.
Moreover, whenever you change your job, you can see your EPF transactions at the same place. You will have to submit an application to the EPF Office to merge your EPF Accounts. After you merge your EPF accounts, you can follow the normal EPF Withdrawal process either online or offline.
Your EPF claim may be settled within 20 days.
No, you cannot withdraw your EPF money unless you are unemployed. According to current EPF withdrawal rules, if you are unemployed for one month, you can withdraw 75% of your EPF Corpus. Moreover, the balance of 25% can be withdrawn if you are unemployed for more than a couple of months.
One of the common reasons why your claim gets rejected is because the Employer doesn’t make EPF contributions for 2-3 months. There isn’t much you could do about this except make sure your Employer regularly contributes towards your EPF. It will solve many problems later on.