Know the Process of how to withdraw PF and EPS money once you leave your job By CS Gaurav Kumar

We all know that the withdrawal process becomes simpler and easier and less time-consuming if you have the Aadhaar card number with you. Having no Aadhar card these days are like you are on the verge of loosing your identity. Govt. has been taking giant steps to link almost everything to Aadhar and PF is not untouched.

Dear Professional Colleagues,

In this write-up, I have tried to simplify the procedure as to how to start with if you wish to withdraw your PF amount if you have left the job for some reason or the other.

It is very obvious that after resigning from the job many employees do not get their provident fund (PF) transferred from the previous employer to the new employer and thus face problems in this regard.

People do this mainly because the funds are safe with the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and it keeps earning tax-free returns.

Things, however, will not be the same from now on.

In November 2017, the Bengaluru bench of the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) ruled out tax-exemption on the interest earned after an employee has quit. So, to avoid getting taxed, you will have to either transfer the PF balance to the new employer or withdraw the amount at the earliest after the exit.

"After an exit from a job, even though no fresh contributions are made, such PF accounts remain 'operative' with the balance earning interest every year. The PF balance as on the date of exit from an organisation continues to be tax-exempt but interest earned on the balance thereafter will be taxable in the year of withdrawal, i.e., it's only the amount of interest earned during the out-of-job period which comes into the tax net. So, to avoid tax, one should get the PF balance transferred to the new employer."

If such a case pertains to you, you have two options:

1. Continue earning taxable interest or

2. Withdraw the PF balance.

Let's see how you can withdraw the PF balance.

When can an employee withdraw PF balance? 

According to the EPF Act, to claim final PF settlement, one has to retire from service after attaining 58 years of age. The total PF balance includes the employee's contribution and that of the employer, along with the accrued interest. In addition, he will be eligible to get the Employees' Pension Scheme (EPS) amount as well depending on the years of service.

But what if someone decides to quit his job before reaching 58? Under the existing rule, employees who resign from a job before they turn 58 years of age can withdraw the full PF balance (and the EPS amount depending on the years of service), if he is out of employment for 60 straight days (two months) or more after leaving a job and then withdraw.

Along with the PF, one is also allowed to withdraw the EPS amount if the service period has been less than 10 years and not later on. Once this milestone is crossed, the employee compulsorily gets pension benefits after retirement.

To withdraw the PF balance and the EPS amount, the EPFO has launched a 'composite form' to take care of withdrawals, transfer, advances, and other related payments.

Before you start the withdrawal process make sure all your previous PF accounts are merged into one. The total service in the present establishment as well as previous organisations will be taken into account and therefore, it is advisable to merge your accounts.

To merge all previous PF accounts, you may click here .

The withdrawal process 
The withdrawal process becomes simpler and less time-consuming if you have your Aadhaar number with you. Here is how you can initiate the withdrawal for both, with and without Aadhaar.

Withdrawing without using Aadhaar card number: If you don't have an Aadhaar, but have the PF number, use this form - Composite Claim Form (Non-Aadhaar).

You will have to furnish Permanent Account Number (PAN) if the total service period is less than five years and also attach two copies of Form 15G/15H, if applicable. In case the Universal Account Number (UAN) is not available, you can mention only the PF account number.

Withdrawing using Aadhaar card number: You can submit a Composite Claim Form (Aadhaar) directly to the concerned EPFO office without attestation of claim form by the employers. The payment of the PF balance will be sent to your bank account, so attach a cancelled cheque along with the form.

Before proceeding ensure these things: You have submitted complete details in Form11 (New) to your employer, Aadhaar card number and bank account details are available on the UAN portal, and the UAN has been activated.

The withdrawal process will entail these conditions. See which one caters to you and choose the form accordingly.

1. Withdrawing PF balance plus EPS amount (for below 10 years of service) 
2 . Withdrawing PF balance plus EPS amount (over 10 years of service) 
3. Withdrawing PF balance only and reduced pension (age 50-58; over 10 years of service) 
4. Withdrawing PF balance only and full pension (After 58)

1. Withdrawing PF balance plus EPS amount (for below ten years of service) 

If service period has been less than 10 years, both PF balance and the EPS amount will be paid. To get EPS amount, in the Composite Claim Form (Aadhaar or Non-Aadhaar), along with choosing 'Final PF balance', also choose the 'pension withdrawal' option.

If you plan on re-joining the workforce, you may opt to get the 'scheme certificate' by furnishing Form 10C.

2. Withdrawing PF balance plus EPS amount (over ten years of service) 

If you have already completed 10 years of service, the EPS amount cannot be withdrawn and only the scheme certificate is to be issued by filling Form 10C along with the Composite Claim Form (Aadhaar or Non-Aadhaar). Pension is to be paid from age 58 while a reduced pension can be paid from age 50. One may opt for early pension (reduced proportionately) after 50 years, provided one has completed 10 years of service.

3. Withdrawing PF balance and reduced pension (age 50-58) (over ten years of service)

You can only get pension after turning 50 years of age and have rendered at least 10 years of service. If your service period has been more than 10 years and you are between the age of 50 and 58, you may opt for reduced pension. For this, Form 10D has to be submitted along with the Composite Claim Form (Aadhaar or Non-Aadhaar).

4. Withdrawing PF balance and full pension (After 58) 

After 58, you have to submit the same Form 10D to claim the full pension.

To know more about EPS, scheme certificate and pension calculations, click here .

What you should do 

It is advisable to transfer your PF balance when you change jobs as it is a form of forced savings. For those who are still in service and have not started their own business, it is better to transfer the PF balance to the new employer. The transfer process has been made automatic, click here to know about it. And if you have quit to start your own business, the entire balance in your EPF account can be transferred to the National Pension Scheme. Inputs has been taken from ET.

CS Gaurav Kumar
Co-founder: Compliance Calendar LLP

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