Withdrawing PF money due to COVID crisis? Know these tax rules
The EPFO has clarified that there is no income-tax liability on the amount of advance an employee withdraws due to COVID-19.
Amid COVID-19, people are facing tough times due to mounting financial expenses. And this is getting worst with each passing day. To curb hassles, the government last year announced that a person can withdraw a part of the amount from its Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account at the time of COVID crisis. It was done in view of the growing financial needs of the people amid the pandemic.
The EPF Scheme, 1952 allows granting an advance to its members in case of an epidemic. A person can withdraw an advance from his EPF balance up to three months of basic salary plus dearness allowance (DA), or 75 per cent of the balance standing in its account, whichever is less. This advance is non-refundable and the person will not have to deposit the withdrawn money back into its EPF account. The person eyeing an advance can make an online application using its login on the EPFO’s website.
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Let’s say, Mrs. X draws an annual salary of Rs 7.2 lakh and wants to withdraw an advance from her EPF account due to the COVID-19 crisis. Mrs. X has a basic salary of Rs 3.6 lakh, which is Rs 30,000 per month. Mrs. X has been in employment for over two years now and her accumulated balance in the EPF account stands at Rs 1 lakh. Now, Mrs. X can withdraw up to Rs 90,000 (Rs 30,000 X 3), which is the basic salary for three months. Or, Rs 75,000 (75 per cent of Rs 1,00,000), which is 75 per cent of the balance standing in the member’s account. So, Mrs. X can withdraw Rs 75,000 as a non-refundable advance from her EPF account.
The facility of EPF withdrawal and obtaining a non-refundable advance is to help employees in need of money amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Employees are given the choice of using their EPF savings to meet their financial needs. An EPF withdrawal is tax-exempt only if the employee completes a continuous service for five years.
However, in such cases where an option of advance is provided due to such a pandemic situation, a tax or TDS on the withdrawal will defeat the purpose of the advance, which is to provide liquidity. The EPFO has clarified that there is no income-tax liability on the amount of advance an employee withdraws due to COVID-19.
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