If you are someone who has switched jobs more than once, then it is important for you to merge all your Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) accounts from previous employers with that of the new one. This has to be done for an important reason related to taxation on withdrawal of EPF money.
Saraswathi Kasturirangan, Partner, Deloitte India explains: “It is important to merge all EPF accounts from previous employers to the current one to ensure that there is no gap in the employment to be counted as a continuous period of service. For the purpose of income tax, the withdrawal from EPF account is exempted from tax after 5 years of continuous service. This 5 years of continuous service is calculated from the date of joining the EPF scheme to the date of making a withdrawal.”
One can merge their various EPF accounts using the Universal Account Number or UAN. The UAN allows one to link all EPF accounts under a single account. The UAN helps you to keep track of the multiple EPF accounts opened by different organisations you have worked for.
An EPF member can give his/her UAN to the new employer for opening of EPF account in the new organisation. Once the new account is opened, then the money from the previous employer’s EPF account can be transferred to the new one. However, if a new UAN is generated by the new organisation, then you will be required to merge all your UANs into one UAN.
Kasturirangan says, “If an employee has multiple UANs, the latest one should be linked to the new establishment. The PF balances need to be transferred from the other UANs to the latest one.”
To submit an online request for merging two or more EPF accounts, your UAN must be activated on the Member Sewa portal.
Here is a step-by-step guide on merging two or more EPF accounts online.
Step 1: Visit the Member Sewa portal https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in
Step 2: Select ‘One Member – One EPF Account (Transfer Request)’ under the ‘Online Services’ tab.
Step 3: On the screen, your personal details will be shown. It will also show the details of the EPF account held with your current employer, in which the transfer-in will be done from previous accounts.
Step 4: To transfer the old/previous account, you will be required to get it attested either by the previous employer or present employer. An employee can choose attestation via present employer for faster processing of transfer request. Enter the old member ID, i.e., previous PF account number or previous UAN. Click on ‘Get Details’.
The screen will show the details related to your previous EPF accounts.
Step 5: Click on ‘Get OTP’. A one-time password will be sent on your registered mobile number. Enter the OTP and click on submit.
After this, your request for EPF account mergers will be successfully submitted. Your present employer will be required to approve the merger request submitted. Once your employer approves it, the EPFO authorities will process and merge your previous EPF accounts with the current one. Do check back on the portal to find out about the merger status.
Do keep in mind that your old EPF accounts must be KYC compliant to be able to submit the online request. If you have more than one old EPF account, then merger request for all the old EPF accounts will have to be submitted separately.
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