Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) is a welfare scheme for the benefit of the employees. It is a corpus built by an employee and employer by way of monthly contributions. The interest is also regularly credited to the provident fund account. At present, the EPF Interest Rate is 8.55% on contributions made by the employer and the employee.

Many people believe that the withdrawal of the accumulated balance of EPF by an employee is exempt from tax. It is not the case, the withdrawal is exempt only in the specified circumstances:

Exemption on withdrawal

There are 4 specified cases in which the amount withdrawn from the recognized provident fund is exempt.  These cases are prescribed in Rule 8 of Part A to the fourth schedule of the Income Tax Act. The exemption is available in the following cases:

1. If the employee has rendered continuous service with his employer for a period of 5 years or more.

2. If the employee has not rendered continuous service for 5 years and his service has been terminated a) by reason of the employee’s ill-health or b) by the contraction or discontinuance of the employer’s business or c) other cause beyond the control of the employee.

3. If, on the cessation of his employment, the employee obtains employment with any other employer, to the extent the accumulated balance due and becoming payable to him is transferred to his individual account in any recognized provident fund maintained by such other employer.

4. If the entire balance standing to the credit of the employee is transferred to his account under NPS referred in section 80CCD and notified by the central government.

TDS on EPF Withdrawal

TDS is deductible on withdrawal of the accumulated balance if the amount is not exempt in the hands of the employee, owing to the provisions of rule 8 of Part A of the Fourth Schedule i.e. any of the 4 cases mentioned above. TDS is deducted at the time of payment of the accumulated balance due to the employee.

TDS is not deductible if the aggregate amount of withdrawal is less than Rs. 50,000/-. It is deductible at the rate of 10%. However, if the PAN of the recipient is not available then TDS is deductible at Maximum Marginal Rate which is 35.880% for the A.Y 2019-20.

Computation of Taxability on Withdrawal

The amount of PF withdrawal gets taxable if your case does not fall in any of the 4 exemption cases mentioned above. This withdrawal is taxable as if it is a withdrawal from the unrecognized provident fund. The total income of the employee is computed as if the fund was not recognized from the very beginning.

The total income will be recomputed in respect of his total income for each of the years concerned in which the amount was contributed and certain tax concessions were claimed by the employee for such contribution i.e. the benefits claimed over years in the form of deduction under section 80C for the contribution to the EPF has to be returned back. Apart from that the Interest accumulated on the EPF also becomes taxable Income.

The credit balance in the provident fund account consists of employer’s contribution, interest on employer’s contribution, employee’s contribution and interest on employee’s contribution. The taxability of each such item is as below:

Employer’s Contribution and Interest on Employer’s Contribution

The employer’s contribution and interest, thereon, would be taxable as profits in lieu of salary under the head salary income in the hands of the employee.

Employee’s Contribution

The employee’s contribution would be taxable to the extent of the deduction claimed under Section 80C in respect of such contribution, if any, under the Income-tax Act’1961.

Interest on Employee’s Contribution

The interest earned on employee’s contribution would be taxable under the head income from other sources in the hands of the employee.

Thus, the withdrawal of the EPF balance by an employee who has not rendered continuous service of 5 years and in certain other cases attracts tax liability. The employee can save his tax by transferring the accumulated balance of EPF with the new employer if he also maintains the recognized provident fund rather than withdrawing the same.

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  1. Vani says:

    For withdrawal of EPF before 5 years should one use ITR1 or ITR2. I used ITR1 and showed the taxable portion under Income from other source and it was returned as defective. Now I find in ITR2 Schedule OS having “Accumulated balance of recognized provident fund taxable u/s 111” added to Income chargeable at special rates. Should we add the taxable portion of EPF here in Schedule OS. Kindly advice. Thanks

  2. Vara says:

    After 13+ years of service, I was laid of (forced resignation) in January 2017 as part of company’s workforce trimming exercise. I did not withdraw my EPF (Employee Provident Fund) corpus then, thinking it’s my savings for retirement. Meanwhile, EPFO has credited interest for FY16-17 and FY17-18 in December 2018 with transaction date as 31-March-2018. For FY18-19 they are yet ot process interest). As per your article, I understand, this interest is taxable, since I am not contributing to EPF for last 2 years. My questions are;
    (1) Do I need to pay tax now or at the time of withdrawal?
    (2) If I have to pay tax now, Should I show the EPF interest earned for FY16/17 and FY17/18 in this year’s ITR (as the amount was actually credited in December 2018)? If not, now show I handle this?
    (3) Would the EPFO office deduct 10% TDS at the time of withdrawal when I do it in future?
    (4) In case if EPFO account becomes Inoperative after 3 years of non-contributing period, do EPFO continue to pay interest? Awaiting your response. Thank You.

  3. PDSingh says:

    If I didnt claim any deductions under 80 C( had enough LIC savings to show in 80C) from employee’s contribution, whether the portion of Employee’s contribution will be taxable or not?

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