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I worked in an organization for 15 years and had to leave the job for personal reasons in May 2018. I have not withdrawn my employees’ provident fund (EPF) yet. For how many years can I keep the money in that account after leaving the job? Does the account get locked if it is non-operational for a period? Is there an option to make a partial withdrawal? If yes, what is the procedure? For how many years after an employee leaves a job is interest paid on the amount accrued in the EPF account?

—Deepali Srivastava

 

There is no prescribed period within which you are mandatorily required to close your EPF account. You can choose to keep the account open as per your requirement.

There is no concept of EPF account being locked under existing provisions of Indian Provident Fund (PF) law. But these accounts become inoperative and do not earn further interest where an employee retires from service after attaining the age of 55 years, migrates abroad permanently, or dies and does not apply for withdrawal of his accumulated balance within 36 months. Until such time, interest will continue to accrue on EPF balances. But no interest will accrue once the account becomes inoperative.

Assuming that you have not attained 55 years of service and have not migrated abroad, you shall earn interest until you attain the age of 58, post which the account shall become inoperative.

In relation to withdrawal, in the ordinary course, you can only withdraw the entire EPF balance and not partial balance.

However, there are prescribed purposes in the provident fund scheme for which an individual is allowed to withdraw EPF balance in accordance with the conditions prescribed in this regard.

 

Can one contribute to the public provident fund (PPF) accounts of two minors from a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) account? On contributions of up to 1.5 lakh per year, is the benefit under Section 80 C applicable while filing income tax return of HUF?

—Name withheld on request

 

There are no restrictions on who can contribute to a PPF account.

From a tax deduction perspective, as per the provisions of Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961, an HUF can claim deduction towards contribution to a PPF account, standing in the name of any “member" thereof.

The maximum deduction under Section 80C of the I-T Act is restricted to 1.5 lakh.

The I-T Act, however, does not define the term “member" of an HUF.

Hence, this would be guided by the general principles of the Hindu Law, with respect to inclusion of minors as “members" of the HUF.

Parizad Sirwalla is partner and head, global mobility services, tax, KPMG in India.

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