The Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has rolled out a universal account number for all of its subscribers to do away, with the issues of multiple accounts and fund transfer. However, there are still many who have unclaimed PF amount lying idle in accounts opened by previous employers. Such accounts tend to become dormant for lack of contributions beyond 36 months.
What is more worrisome is that the employees could lose their unclaimed amount lying in such dormant accounts as the government plans to direct the money towards senior citizens fund. The EPFO has set up a helpdesk to assist claimants get the details of their accounts and claim their amount in the absence of required details. Thus, an individual has a way to get hold of his hard-earned money by following the prescribed guidelines.
In order to claim the EPF money, an individual has to log on to EPFO website and need to fill claims form. The same has to be submitted to the nearest EPFO office, either by post or in person. Once submitted, it will take between three to twenty days for an EPFO office to process the form and transfer the amount to respective bank accounts.
Withdrawal or Transfer
An individual has two options, which is, either to withdraw the amount or let it transfer to an existing PF Account. Since withdrawal from a PF account, which has not completed five years, will be added to taxable income and charged as per tax slab. Hence transfer is a more appropriate option.
Similarly, withdrawal from those PF accounts, which have completed five years, will not be taxable. Individuals, who have taken up a business or are self-employed, have no other option but to apply for withdrawal of the amount. Otherwise, those who are still in the workforce should ideally transfer the amount in their existing PF account, in order to keep intact for retirement purposes.