Steps that should be followed when applying for a National Pension Scheme

NPS, which is also known as National Pension System, is a pension fund instrument that helps to make our life easy after retirement. This scheme is aimed at providing an adequate monthly income to citizens of the county after retirement. The National Pension Scheme comes as a relief to people who do not have any monetary support after they retire. The NPS account was open to only government employees of the country but was later made available to everyone in 2009. An NPS account is closely related to the 401(k) plan that is available in the United States of America. There are a number of benefits that the National Pension Scheme offers and a lot of people are now slowly becoming aware of this scheme and applying for it.

National Pension Scheme (NPS)

Who is eligible to open a NPS account?

Any citizen of the country whose age lies between 18 years and 60 years can open a NPS account. Even an NRI who has successfully retained his/her Indian passport is also eligible to open a NPS account. Any individual who wishes to open a NPS account should be of sound mind and should not have completed the age of 60 years. An NPS account depends on the accumulation of money till the account holder reaches the age of 60 years. One should keep in mind that a good chunk of this money is tax-free.

Where do I open an NPS account?

The Government of India has nominated 34 different entities which are designed to help Indian citizens and eligible NRIs in opening a NPS account. These include public banks like Allahabad Bank, Central Bank of India, Union Bank of India, State Bank of India, and Syndicate Bank along with its subsidiaries. Along with these, there are a few private banks that have been nominated by the government. Banks like ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Yes Bank, and Kotak Mahindra Bank are now capable of opening NPS accounts for citizens. Other entities that were nominated by the bank are Stock Holding Corporation, Indian Postal Department, UTI Technology Services Limited, and UTI Asset Management Company. The entities that facilitate NPS openings are called Point of Presence (POPs). You can even get a detailed list of these entities along with the relevant contact information on http://www.npscra.nsdl.co.in or http://www.pfrda.org.in.

Steps you need to follow when opening an NPS account:

You will need to follow the following steps if you want to open a NPS account:

  • Permanent Retirement Account Number
  • Documents and related details
  • Submission of duly filled documents
  • Contributions

If an individual follow these steps diligently, then opening an NPS account becomes a lot easier

  1. Permanent Retirement Account Number: As a potential subscriber in the age group of 18 years to 60 years, you are eligible to procure your very own PRAN application form at any Point of Presence. You can also download the PRAN application form from the official NPS website.
  2. Documents and related details: Once you have procured your application form either online for from a Point of Presence, you will have to fill in the application form and gather any and all documents that are required. This would include your photographs, ID proof, and other KYC documents that are required when applying for an NPS account.
  3. Submission of dully filled documents: Submit all required documents like photographs, ID proof, and any other documents that you are required along with the application form. The documents will then be verified and then processed after which a PRAN will be generated and this will be sent to the registered address of the applicant.
  4. Contributions: A contribution of a minimum of Rs.500 is required when submitting the documents and forms. A contribution slip will also be required which details the payment instrument used and payment particulars.

Documents required:

There are a few documents that the government will require which you will have to submit when opening a NPS account:

  • Application Form
  • Latest Photographs
  • Voters card
  • PAN card
  • Address proof (Utility bills, telephone bills, etc.)
  • Identity proof (Driver’s licence, PAN card, any government)
  • Passport copy
  • VISA copy

A pension fund is very important for senior citizens. A lot of independent people opt for it for various reasons like not being dependent on others, supporting their family, etc. Why change your standard of living when you retire? A National Pension Scheme is an answer to all your financial worries that you may have about the future. Have a hassle-free experience while applying for a National Pension Scheme by following these simple steps when applying.

 

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Did You Know These 5 Important Things About PF Withdrawal?

The Provident Fund or PF as it is known popularly, is an retirement benefit scheme tat was started by the government several years ago which allows all employees to create savings for their life post retirement. According to financial experts, it is unadvisable to withdraw your Pf before you retire. As per the regulations set, a fixed 12% of an employee’s monthly salary will be directed into their PF fund, along with their employer contributing an equal amount as well. Each year, the EPFO (Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation) declares the rate of interest which will be applicable on the collected amount in one’s provident fund. Employees can withdraw their PF amount only after 2 months after leaving an organization. For withdrawal, an application form needs to be filled b the individual and submitted to the PF office or they can also do so via their employer. Here are 5 important details which one must absolutely be aware of when it comes to Provident Fund.

About PF Withdrawal

Encouragement of Long-term Savings

In order to encourage employees to maintain savings on a long term basis, several laws have been brought into effect by the government to help employees in their endeavor. In case an individual has withdrawn funds from their PF account after 5 years of non-stop employment, they will not be liable for any tax deduction. Also, if the employee has worked with varied employers over the years and their PF account maintained with an ex-employer is simply transferred to the PF account opened by the new employer, it will count as a continuous employment. Also, in case the individual has lost their employment due to reasons outside their control such as shutting down of the business or ill-health, then the PF withdrawal made in this case will also not be liable for any tax, regardless of the duration of the individual’s employment.

Withdrawal Before 5 Years is Taxable

If an individual has withdrawn the funds from their PF account before a duration of 5 years of continuous employment, then the Pf funds will  attract tax in the on-going financial year. Consequently, the Pf amount must be included in your tax return for next year’s assessment.

Employer’s Contribution

An employer is bound by law to contribute an equal amount to their employee’s PF Fund as is being deducted from the individual’s monthly income. What your employer contributed towards your PF and the interest that you earn on it will be added to your income and tax will be levied accordingly.

Benefit Claimed on PF Contribution

In case an employee has made benefit claims on their PF contribution under Section 80C, the same will be taxable as salary. If they have earned interest on their own PF contribution, the same will also be taxed under ‘income from other sources’ according to the applicable tax slabs.

TDS (Tax Deducted At Source)

If an individual has withdrawn their PF funds after 5 years of continuous employment, the withdrawal will not attract any tax or TDS. In case the employment period is below 5 years and the employee has not submitted their PAN number to EPFO, then a 30% deduction is done towards TDS. If the employee has submitted their PAN number with Form 15G/15H, then there is no TDS deduction. If the PAN number has been provided but not the Form 15G/15H, then TDS is deducted at the rate of 10%. The Form 15H or 15G has been released for the purpose of preventing TDS deduction for employees whose income is below the cut-off for tax deduction.

 

Tax Time: Things to do Before March 31st

It’s that time again. March 31st is fast approaching and taxes loom over many of us. Tax laws can leave us dazed and confused. Here’s what you need to do before the deadline.

Tax Time

Investment Proofs

If you are working at a company, make sure you’ve filed your investment proofs and there are no mistakes. Double check just to make sure that everything is accurate.

Make More Investments

If you are being taxed a hefty amount, it’s not too late to make investments. Your bill needs to have a date that is before or on 31st March 2017. Once the financial year ends, no investments post that date will be accepted for the year 2016-17.

File Returns

File your tax returns on time. Filing your returns post 31st March can attract penalties and fines.

PPF is the best

Open a PPF account or contribute to your existing one. PPF is a reliable and safe investment that offers high rates of interest. Make sure at least Rs.500 is deposited in the account for the year. Failure to deposit Rs.500 at least will attract a fine of Rs.50.

Demonetisation

In light of demonetisation, the last date to exchange Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes is March 31st. You can do so at designated branches at the RBI offices. However, civilian experiences suggest that only NRI counters are open.

Recharge your NPS

If you hold an NPS account, make sure Tier I is active by contributing at least Rs.1,000 by March 31st. Your account can be frozen if you do not make the minimum annual contribution.

Save for Next Year

If you have already filed your returns and are tax free, don’t make anymore investments till April 1st! The investments can be taken into consideration for the next fiscal year.

Speak to an Advisor

Taxes can be taxing! If you don’t know what you are doing, there are websites online that can provide advice and help for free. If you still don’t know what you’re doing, tax experts don’t charge high fees. Speak to an advisor to get more information on your taxes and find out how you can save more.

First-timers

When people get their first job, they usually don’t care or don’t know much about tax. If you’re under the tax bracket, you can still file your returns and show the government that you don’t have to pay any tax. The reason to do this is Tax returns sometimes come in handy for a number of applications like Visas, loans and more. You can get around in life without showing your IT returns, but it will prove useful somewhere or the other. It will also be a stepping stone to when you actually have to start paying taxes. You will be more aware of the process and the what it entails.

 

What you need to know about Online PF Withdrawal

Are you thinking about withdrawing your PF? There’s good news in store for you. The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation will soon be launching a new feature on their website that will enable users to withdraw their PF online.

What you need to know about the proposed PF withdrawal

  • About 1 crore claim applications are submitted to the EPFO for withdrawals, pension fixations of group insurance benefits.
  • At present, most claims are settled within 20 days, the stipulated time by the EPFO.
  • The EPFO now plans on settling claims within just a few hours from the time of receiving the application.
  • A pilot scheme was carried out under which the EPFO connected over 50 field offices with their central server.
  • The connections for 123 offices are in the pipeline.
  • Once this is done, subscribers will be provided more online services.
  • Furnishing Aadhaar details has been made mandatory for every subscriber. The deadline has been set as 31st March 2017.
  • For better identification, furnishing details of Aadhaar seeded bank accounts would be helpful to the EPFO.

Should you withdraw your PF?

  • The Employees’ Provident Fund was set up to encourage savings towards retirement.
  • Withdrawing money from the retirement corpus is not advisable unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
  • An employee’s fund will build up over the years as 12% of the basic salary is deposited every month along with a matched contribution from the employer. Out of this, 8.33% is deposited into the Employees’ Pension Scheme.
  • If a person continues to save over their working period, a significant amount will get saved and will come in handy when it comes to retiring.
  • Tax laws have been formed to discourage withdrawing early from PF accounts.

Tax Deducted at Source on PF Withdrawals

  • If PF withdrawal is made before completing five years of continuous service, the amount withdrawn will be taxable.
  • If PAN is registered, then 10% tax will be applicable on the taxable withdrawal amount.
  • If PAN is not registered, 34% tax will be levied on the taxable withdrawal amount.

Tax Exemptions on PF Withdrawals

  • If a salaried employee makes a PF withdrawal after continuous service of five years, then there will be no TDS deduction on the amount.
  • If the withdrawal amount is below Rs.30,000, no tax will be applicable.
  • If an individual’s income is below the basic exemption limit (taking into account the PF withdrawal amount), then they can submit Form 15G and avoid tax.
  • For amounts of up to Rs.3 lakhs for senior citizens, Form 15H can be submitted if their income is below the taxable amount.
  • If a PF transfer is made, there will be no tax applicable.
  • If the employee is terminated on account of bad health (of the employee), dissolution of the business or other reasons not in the domain of the employee, withdrawals may be exempt from tax.

If the EPFO’s plans to provide more online services on the online portal goes well, subscribers will benefit greatly. Currently, subscribers face many issues with getting their PF details, withdrawals and UANs from employers. They also face many issues online with accessing their accounts on the EPF portal. Upgrading the current system would help subscribers get better services and quick turnaround times.

All You Need To Know About Atal Pension Yojana

Have your ever thought of your maid’s retirement life? What happens to them if they cannot work during their old age? To make things worse what if they don’t have anyone to depend on? People working in the unorganised sector should also have an opportunity to plan their retirement life. Apart from savings, a proper pension plan that promises regular monthly income is mandatory for every retired individual irrespective of their job or income group. Earning corporate professionals and government employees are not the only ones who have a financially sound retired life anymore. Atal Pension Yojana gives an opportunity to people working in the unorganised sector to plan for their retirement life by investing in a pension plan.

About Atal Pension Yojana

Atal Pension Yojana

Atal Pension Yojana was introduced in the year 2015 by Prime Minister Narender Modi. According to a survey, only 11% of Indian population had a pension plan. To increase this number and to help many citizens lead a peaceful retired life, Atal Pension Yojana was launched. Atal Pension Yojana is a government-backed pension plan that aims to enrol people working in the unorganised sector in a pension scheme. To encourage weaker section of the population to opt for this plan, the central government will also contribute 50% of the total contribution or Rs.1,000 per year (whichever is lower) for selected subscribers for a period of 5 years. Atal Pension Yojana plan will be linked to the bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and monthly contributions will be debited automatically. This introduces people working in the unorganised sector to mainstream banking which will help in the economic development of India.

Eligibility to apply for Atal Pension Yojana

  • Applicants should be Indian citizens
  • Should have an active savings account in a bank. If they do not have a bank account they can create one under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana scheme.
  • Applicants should have a mobile number to register for Atal Pension Yojana
  • Applicants should be between 18 to 40 years of age
  • Applicants should be working in unorganised sector

How does it work?

Atal Pension Yojana requires periodic contribution. Beneficiaries will in return get a fixed pension amount. The available pension amount they can choose are Rs.1,000, Rs.2,000, Rs.3,000, and Rs.5,000. The monthly contribution depends on the pension amount they wish to get every month after they retire. You will have to contribute regularly from the time you have applied for the scheme and continues till you reach the age of 60. Refer to the below table for more information on the contribution amount, tenure, and the pension amount you will receive.

Age when you join the scheme Years you contribute Contribution amount Fixed monthly pension received
18 years 42 years Rs.42 Rs.1,000
20 years 40 years Rs.50 Rs.1,000
25 years 35 years Rs.76 Rs.1,000
30 years 30 years Rs.116 Rs.1,000
35 years 25 years Rs.181 Rs 1,000
40 years 20 years Rs.291 Rs.1,000

Please note that under this plan, in case of the death of the subscriber, the nominee or legal heir will receive a one-time return of corpus amount of Rs.1,70,000.

Age when you join the scheme Years you contribute Contribution amount Fixed monthly pension received
18 years 42 years Rs.84 Rs.2,000
20 years 40 years Rs.100 Rs.2,000
25 years 35 years Rs.151 Rs.2,000
30 years 30 years Rs.231 Rs.2,000
35 years 25 years Rs.362 Rs.2,000
40 years 20 years Rs.582 Rs.2,000

Please note that under this plan, in case of the death of the subscriber, the nominee or legal heir will receive a one-time return of corpus amount of Rs.3,40,000.

Age when you join the scheme Years you contribute Contribution amount Fixed monthly pension received
18 years 42 years Rs.126 Rs.3,000
20 years 40 years Rs.150 Rs.3,000
25 years 35 years Rs.226 Rs.2,000
30 years 30 years Rs.347 Rs.2,000
35 years 25 years Rs.543 Rs.2,000
40 years 20 years Rs.873 Rs.2,000

Please note that under this plan, in case of the death of the subscriber, the nominee or legal heir will receive a one-time return of corpus amount of Rs.3,40,000.

Age when you join the scheme Years you contribute Contribution amount Fixed monthly pension received
18 years 42 years Rs.126 Rs.3,000
20 years 40 years Rs.150 Rs.3,000
25 years 35 years Rs.226 Rs.3,000
30 years 30 years Rs.347 Rs.3,000
35 years 25 years Rs.543 Rs.3,000
40 years 20 years Rs.873 Rs.3,000

Please note that under this plan, in case of the death of the subscriber, the nominee or legal heir will receive a one-time return of corpus amount of Rs.5,10,000.

Age when you join the scheme Years you contribute Contribution amount Fixed monthly pension received
18 years 42 years Rs.168 Rs.4,000
20 years 40 years Rs.198 Rs.4,000
25 years 35 years Rs.301 Rs.4,000
30 years 30 years Rs.462 Rs.4,000
35 years 25 years Rs.722 Rs.4,000
40 years 20 years Rs.1164 Rs.4,000

Please note that under this plan, in case of the death of the subscriber, the nominee or legal heir will receive a one-time return of corpus amount of Rs.6,80,000.

Age when you join the scheme Years you contribute Contribution amount Fixed monthly pension received
18 years 42 years Rs.210 Rs.5,000
20 years 40 years Rs.248 Rs.5,000
25 years 35 years Rs.376 Rs.5,000
30 years 30 years Rs.577 Rs.5,000
35 years 25 years Rs.902 Rs.5,000
40 years 20 years Rs.1454 Rs.5,000

How to apply for Atal Pension Yojana?

  • Visit the bank where you have your savings account
  • Ask the bank officers for an APY form
  • Fill the form carefully and give your Aadhar details
  • Do not forget to mention your mobile number
  • Make sure you have maintained the minimum balance in your account
  • Your monthly contribution will get deducted automatically from your account every month

Spread the word about Atal Pension Yojana to people you know are who are working in unorganised sector. It may help somebody live a peaceful retirement life.

 

Importance of UAN for transfer of PF

Under the Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, UAN or the Universal Account Number has been made compulsory for all members under the Employees’ Provident Funds. This simply means that managing your EPF account, transfer and withdrawal of PF will be much easier than before.

Importance of UAN for transfer of PF

It is very important to note that a single employee should have a unique UAN and not multiple UANs. When an employee joins a new organisation, he or she should link the already existing UAN with the new PF or ID number. After linking, the UAN will display both the PF numbers including the previous employer’s PF number as well. Therefore, instead of having multiple UANs, all PF numbers are under a single UAN allotted to an individual by all its employers. In most cases, the UAN is provided by the employer and the employee just needs to get it activated by submitted relevant KYC documents to the employer. Therefore, UAN is a one-time number which remains permanent throughout your career.

What happens in case of multiple UANs

Many times the employees end up with multiple UANs and majority of times, the main reason is when the record is not updated along with the status of your employment. In such cases, it is important that your previous employer informs the EPFO when you leave the job through ECR (Electronic Challan cum Return). The ECR is filed regularly by the employer with the EPFO.

In case an employee is allotted more than one UAN, the current employer must be first informed about it. Alternatively, you can also write to the EPFO mentioning both your previous and current UAN. The EPFO conducts the required verification and blocks the previously allotted UAN and retains the current UAN active. As soon as the previous UAN is blocked, the PF number or the ID number is also de-linked. Following this, the employee has to submit a transfer request so that the PF funds are transferred to the currently active UAN.

EPFO’s initiative to merge multiple UANs

The EPFO has also taken voluntary steps to merge multiple UANs of a single EPF member. It involves first identifying the PF accounts between which funds have been transferred from different UANs. All UANs identified through this process are deactivated and cannot be used. The old PF number is then linked to the active UAN. Merging of UAN may not necessarily be requested by the employee.

How to avoid multiple UANs

In order to avoid multiple UANs, you are required to fill in the new form 11, which is a declaration form that states the existing UAN. If you do not have one, you are required to provide your previous PF number along with the exit date from your last job.

Importance of UAN

The new PF number on joining of a new organisation gets linked to the UAN. Therefore, you must ensure that you have an active UAN. If you an UAN, your KYC documents can be easily uploaded through the UAN member portal. After this, the employer digitally approves them online. For KYC purposes, Aadhaar or PAN can be used, however your bank account number and the IFSC code is mandatory. Once the UAN gets activate, you can view all your PF related details including your previous employment PF details. This can be used to transfer the PF as well as track the status as and when desired.

In cases when there are pending arrears from your previous employer and the UAN is blocked, the EPFO enables you to transfer it to the new UAN. Therefore, this unique UAN number plays a highly useful role in obtaining or transferring PF.

Job Switch and EPF Withdrawal

All salaried employees working in the private, public or government sector organizations will be familiar with EPF or PF. Employee Provident Fund or Provident Fund is a retirement scheme introduced by the EPFO to help salaried employees create a retirement corpus. Every organization which has over 20 employees has to compulsorily register with the EPFO in order for its employees to benefit from the EPF scheme.

Job Switch and EPF Withdrawal

Every time an employee joins a new organization or switches their job, a new PF account is created for them. As for the previous account help with their previous organization, they have the option of either transferring the balance to the newly opened PF account or withdrawing the balance. However, often, employees sometimes prefer to withdraw their PF account balance every time they switch their job, quoting reasons such as default in PF payments on the part of their employer. Doing this, more or less, defeats the purpose of a PF account itself.

When it comes to PF account balance, experts have always sided with the view that one must try to avoid withdrawing their PF account balance before reaching retirement or break into their PF fund only if it is a dire emergency.  Currently, the regulations governing PF account balances allow account holders to either transfer their account balance to their new employer or withdraw the amount. Considering the hassle involved in the transfer of an EPF account from one employee to another and keeping track of multiple EPF accounts opened by an individual during their employment, EPFO has introduced an arrangement of having a single EPF account.

Withdrawing from an EPF account is accompanied by several disadvantages, the biggest of which is that it completely defeats the purpose of having an EPF account. The other advantages which one foregoes include tax related concessions which come with EPF. When a salaried individual who is an EPFO member withdraws their EPF balance after a term of 5 years of uninterrupted employment, the balance and interest does not attract any interest. On the other hand, if the employee withdraws their EPF account balance before the term of 5 years of continuous service, their EPF balance i.e. the employer’s contribution towards the EPF and the interest earned on the contribution will be taxable as a part of the head salary income.

The one thing that can be considered important by EPF account holders in terms of withdrawal and related taxation is that if an account holder must withdraw funds from their EPF account for requirements that are out of the employee’s control, despite the fact that the employee has not had a continuous employment term of 5 years, the withdrawal will not be taxable.

As for those who are nearing retirement, if an employee has had the same PF number during the entire course of their employment, they will be eligible for receiving a pension after they have crossed 58 years of age. This facility of a receiving pension is available not only to private sector employees but also to government sector employees, provided that the employee has not withdrawn the funds from their EPF account  during their entire employment period.  The pension which is given to a member for keeping an intact EPF account, as per the Employee Pension Scheme, is equal to 8.33%, from the 12%, that is the employer’s contribution.

Considering the aforementioned points, it is quite clear that EPF withdrawals at the time of switching a job can only bring disadvantages. Only if you really are in dire need of cash and your EPF account if your only solution, must you withdraw those funds. Otherwise, do try to avoid withdrawing those funds before you finish 5 years of uninterrupted employment.