I worked in one organisation for three years before being transferred to another after the company split, where I stayed for four years and six months. While there is no break in the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) account for the entire period, the UAN site shows the service record of two organisations separately. I’m having trouble filing a claim online because the tenure is less than five years and thus there is no tax deduction at source (TDS). How can I get this resolved?
The accumulated balance due and becoming payable to an employee participating in a recognised provident fund shall be excluded from the computation of his total income under the provisions of the Income-tax Act of 1961.
I if he has been continuously employed by his employer for five years or more, or
(ii) if the service was terminated due to the employee’s illness, the contraction or discontinuance of the employer’s business, or any other cause beyond the employee’s control, or
(iii) if, following termination of employment, the employee accepts employment with another employer, to the extent that the accumulated balance due and becoming payable is transferred to his individual account in any recognised provident fund maintained by the new employer; or
(iv) if the entire balance to the employee’s credit is transferred to his NPS account
As previously stated, if, upon termination of employment, the accumulated balance due and becoming payable is transferred to a PF account with a new employer and the total service period is five years or more, the withdrawal is not taxable. As a result, there will be no TDS in this case.
It should be noted that the online UAN portal tracks service time under each employer separately. If the PF accumulations from the previous employer are transferred to the PF account with the new employer, the PF department automatically considers the cumulative service period and allows the available exemption, and thus no TDS is applied.
Based on the information available, it appears that you did not transfer the PF accumulations from the previous employer, and thus the PF department considers the service period to be less than 5 years, and thus considers it taxable and deducting tax at source / TDS.
You may therefore arrange for the transfer of the PF accumulations from the previous employer to the PF account with the new employer (by following the specified process under the PF Scheme depending on whether the previous entity was with RPFC or had an inhouse Trust), allowing the EPFO to grant you the above-mentioned exemption, or you may claim the tax refund when filing your tax return. In the event that a tax refund is claimed in the return, the tax authorities may request an explanation, given that TDS was deducted by the EPFO on such earnings.