If you are a salaried employee who makes regular contribution towards the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), we recommend you stay put until it’s time for you to retire because it’s more of a retirement product. However, if circumstances look grim and dipping into your EPF corpus is your only option, you may have to go for it. Note that the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) allows full withdrawal of funds only if you’ve been unemployed for at least two months. But, it does allow partial withdrawal for select expenses such as weddings and medical emergencies. You can read more about this here. We tell you how you can go about withdrawing you EPF account online. Read on.
“Over the past few years, the EPFO has gradually made withdrawal and claim settlement process a lot easier, convenient and less time consuming for salaried individuals. The launch of twin facilities in the year 2017, one of online withdrawal facility and the other of single claim form has significantly contributed towards making EPF withdrawal a speedy and less cumbersome process in comparison to the physical application method as well as submission of three different forms for the purpose of final PF settlement, pension withdrawal and partial withdrawal respectively," said Naveen Kukreja, chief executive officer and co-founder, Paisabazaar.com.
In 2017, the EPFO introduced a simplified one-page claim form which can be used for partial as well as complete withdrawal. Until 2017, partial withdrawals required the investor to submit documents to prove why she was withdrawing. This has now been junked. This has been made possible after it became mandatory to link the Universal Account Number (UAN) with Aadhaar and bank account number. “The one page claim form replaced the then existing forms required for final PF settlement (form 19), pension withdrawal benefits (form 10C) and partial withdrawal (Form 31)," said Kukreja.
Note that you can use the online withdrawal claim facility only if your Aadhaar is linked with your UAN. Also, remember that only those subscribers whose UAN has been linked with their Aadhaar and bank account number can do away with the need to get employer’s attestation for withdrawal, and can directly submit the claim form to the EPFO. For those whose details are not seeded in UAN, they would have to get the employer's attestation before submitting the composite claim form (Non-Aadhaar) to the EPFO.
But before submitting the withdrawal application, couple of pre-requisites need to be factored in. “Firstly, the UAN needs to be activated and the mobile number used for activating the UAN should be in working condition. Secondly, UAN has to be linked with your Aadhaar, PAN and bank details along with the IFSC code," said Kukreja.
Once you have the pre-requisites covered, you can simply login to the UAN portal of EPF and fill the composite claim form and submit it. Also, Online Members’ Act of preferring the advance claim online would be taken as her self- declaration for having applied for the same, hence doing away with the need to give any supporting document submitting online EPF withdrawal request. In case of partial withdrawal, you will have to mention the purpose for which you are withdrawing along with the amount. Post submission of your online withdrawal form, money is generally credited to your bank account within 10-15 days.
If you’ve contributed for less than five years —either with one employer or more and have transferred your EPF account from the previous employer—the maturity corpus is taxable. You’ll have to submit proof of PAN and form 15G or 15H to avoid TDS, if applicable.
“The introduction of a single claim form has facilitated a speedier and less cumbersome withdrawal process for the investors. Instead of submitting three different forms, investors are required to just submit a composite form, hence doing away the need to separately fill and submit different forms," said Kukreja.