The Employees’ Provident Fund or EPF is a popular savings scheme that has been introduced by the EPFO under the supervision of the Government of India. The savings scheme is directed towards the salaried class to facilitate their habit of saving money to build a substantial retirement corpus.
The EPF scheme has catered to over 5 Crore individuals and is directed by three different Acts, namely, the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme Act, 1952, the Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme Act, 1976 and the Employees’ Pension Scheme Act, 1995. The fund is built with monetary contributions extended by employees and their employers each month. Both parties extend 12% each of the employees’ monthly salary, as their share of contribution towards EPF.
The fund thus built accrues a pre-fixed rate of interest that has been set by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation. The accrued interest on the EPF is tax-free and can be withdrawn without paying for the same. Employees avail a lump-sum amount on their retirement, which is inclusive of the accrued interest. Individuals can apply to avail various online services of EPF India by accessing the official portal. The EPF online portal is a user-friendly platform that ensures to keep the flow of services transparent, efficient and hassle-free.
All EPF subscribers have online access to their PF accounts and can execute operations such as withdrawal and checking their EPF balance. The Universal Account Number (UAN) simplifies access to the EPFO member portal.
EPFO assigns each member a 12-digit number known as the UAN. Even if an employee changes employers, his or her UAN remains the same. When a member’s job changes, his or her member ID changes, and the new ID is linked to the UAN. Employees must, however, activate their UAN in order to use the services online.
The EPFO’s primary goals are as follows:
The Employee Provident Fund is open for employees of both the Public and Private Sectors, which means all employees can apply to become a member of EPF India. Additionally, any organisation that employs at least 20 individuals is deemed liable to extend the benefits of EPF to its employees.
When an employee becomes an active member of the scheme, they are considered eligible to avail several benefits in the form of Employees Provident Fund benefits, insurance benefits and pension benefits.
For the Financial year 2021-2022, the pre-fixed rate of interest offered by the EPF scheme is 8.5%. The interest amount accrued on the investments in a PF online account is tax-free.
Such interest is paid only on the operative PF accounts of employees who are yet to retire. But the interest thus accrued on such accounts is taxed as per an EPF employee member’s tax slab. It should also be noted that the share contributed towards Employees Pension Scheme does not accrue interest. However, members are entitled to receive a pension out of this accumulated sum after they turn 58 years old.
The interest extended on EPF schemes is calculated each month and is calculated by dividing the rate p.a. by 12.
Such a method helps to calculate the specific interest that is offered to member employees for a given month.
For example –
If the rate of interest is 8.5% p.a. the rate for each month would be (8.5/12) %, i.e. 0.7125%.
Now, 12% of an individual’s salary is directed towards their EPF account.
Assuming that the salary of an individual is Rs. 15,000 per month –
12% of Rs. 15,000 would accrue Rs. 18, 00 by month-end which would be transferred to the individual’s EPF account.
Now, employers contribute 3.67% towards their EPF account, while 8.5% is contributed towards their EPS account.
It is to be noted that the interest accrued in a given month would only be credited to the account at the end of a current financial year.
The EPF calculator is a simulation that tells you how much money will build in your EPF account when you retire. You can compute the lump-sum amount, which includes both your contribution and the employer’s contribution, as well as the investment’s accrued interest.
It includes a formula box where you can enter your current age, basic monthly pay and dearness allowance, EPF contribution, and retirement age up to 58 years. If you know the figures, you can also enter the current EPF balance. The calculator will show you the EPF funds available at retirement after you enter the necessary information.
EPF forms are vital for the processing of any activity in an EPF employee member’s EPF account. Be it registration, PF transfer, withdrawal or availing loans; an EPF form is mandatory for completing such activities.
The table below offers a brief idea about the different EPS forms and the purpose they are required for –
|Form||Purpose Of The Form||Application|
|Form 2||For nominating and declaring.||Applicable to both EPF and EPS.|
|Form 5||For registering.||Applicable to new employees registering for EPS and EPF.|
|Form 5 IF||For availing a claim under EDLI scheme|
|Form 10C||For availing withdrawal benefits or scheme certification.||EPS|
|Form 10D||For availing monthly pension.|
|Form 11||For transferring EPF account.||EPF|
|Form 14||For purchasing LIC policy.|
|Form 15G||For availing tax-saving benefits on interest.||EPF|
|Form 19||For settling employees provident fund.||EPF|
|Form 20||For settling employees provident fund in case of death.||EPF|
|Form 31||For EPF withdrawal.||EPF|
Step 1: In the event of a job change, EPF can be transferred using the same Universal Account Number (UAN).
Step 2: Go to the official EPF member portal and fill out the registration form.
Step 3: Once you have obtained the login credentials, log in.
Step 4: Go to the Online Transfer Claim Portal and request an EPF transfer with the same login information as before.
Step 5: If you are eligible to make a transfer claim online, you may do so without submitting Form 13.
Step 6: Select ‘Request for Transfer of Funds’ and input your previous employment information as directed.
Step 7: Have your old or new employer authenticate it.
Step 8: After submitting your information, you will receive a PIN on your mobile device.
Step 9: Track your application using the tracking ID that was issued for you.
The employees’ provident fund scheme extends an array of benefits towards the EPF employee members. It inculcates a sense of financial stability and security in them.
Here is a list of benefits that an EPF employee member can avail through the said scheme –
The tax benefits applicable to the Employees Provident Fund scheme ensure higher earnings to the members. It further improves savings and an individual’s purchasing power in the long-term.
Individuals may opt for either partial or complete withdrawal of EPF. But such withdrawals can be made only under specific circumstances. Here is a list of a few such circumstances under which individuals can withdraw EPF completely –
Here is a list of a few such circumstances under which individuals can withdraw EPF partially –
EPF India members can withdraw EPF by submitting a withdrawal application either offline or through EPF online portal.
Step 1: Individuals need to fill up a ‘new composite claim form’ or a ‘composite claim form” and submit the same to the EPFO office under their jurisdiction.
Step 2: A composite claim form needs to be attested by their employer.
Step 1: Individuals must have an active Universal Account Number (UAN).
Step 2: The mobile number used to activate the UAN should be active as well.
Step 3: UAN should be linked with Aadhaar. They would also need the PAN and respective bank details with its IFSC code.
Step 4: After ensuring all the prerequisites are in place, they need to login into the UAN online portal.
Step 5: Individuals need to verify their KYC details and then proceed as per instructions.
Q1. Can an employer lower his or her part of the EPF contribution?
No, employers are not permitted to lower their share of the EPF contribution. A reduction of this magnitude is considered a criminal offence.
Q2. Is it possible for an employee to contribute to EPF after leaving a job?
No, an employee who has left the service cannot pay his or her EPF. Both the employee’s and the employer’s contributions must be matched.
Q3. Is there an age limit for employees who want to join EPF?
No, there are no age restrictions for employees who want to join the Provident Fund. However, if the employee has already reached the age of 58, he or she cannot join the Pension Fund.
Q4. Is it possible for an employee to join the EPF directly?
No, an employee cannot join EPF on their own. He or she must work for a company that is covered by the EPF & MF Act of 1952.
Q5. Is it possible for an employee to opt-out of EPF?
No, a qualified member cannot choose not to participate in the EPF.