Employee provident fund (EPF) and universal account numbers (UAN) are common terms in employee saving and retirement matters. Every employer should have an EPF number, which is given by the employer. Different employers give different numbers. As such, employees that change jobs are expected to have different or many EPF member Ids. With the UAN, you do not need to have multiple ids as this number links all your Ids into a single account. The idea is to have a convenient way of managing your savings.
Common concerns about the EPF
What is the role of an employer on their employees’ provident fund?
The employer does enrolment and contribution of funds into the EPF. As such, this creates an impression that he or she has some form control over their employee’s savings. This impression is false. The employer only facilitates contribution. Therefore, once these funds are deposited into your account, the employer has no control over it.
Can you withdraw the PF without involving your employer?
Initially, an employer’s signature was needed before one was allowed to make any withdrawal. This is no longer the case. With the uan portal login, you can withdraw without your employer noticing. You are only required to have an active UAN account and approval from the regional EPF office. As such, employers cannot use the PF account against their employees.
Are there any tax benefits?
Yes. EPF gives you the benefit of saving or reducing the taxes you pay. How is this done? Your contribution to the EPF is made before the taxman gets his share. This implies that the amount is deducted before you are taxed. As such, the taxes you pay are lower compared to when one does not save. Moreover, the whole amount is not taxed after it matures. However, to qualify for an exemption, you need to have consistently contributed to this kitty for at least five years.
Can I withdraw the money during an emergency?
The main reason people have a PF account is to save for retirement. However, there is usually a provision that allows one to withdraw part of the money. This could be when dealing with a natural catastrophe, buying a home or when attending to medical emergencies. There is a partial withdrawal criterion defines the amounts one can receive.