NPS partial withdrawal vs PPF vs PF; basic differences you should definitely know

By: | Published: March 11, 2019 4:14 PM

While some of these schemes are compulsory for employees depending on their nature of employment, some are optional and can be opted by anyone.

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National Pension System (NPS), Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and Public Provident Fund (PPF) are among the most popular saving, investment and retirement schemes available in India. While some of these schemes are compulsory for employees depending on their nature of employment, some are optional and can be opted by anyone. Here we are taking a look at how partial withdrawals can be made from these schemes:

NPS

For the benefit of its subscribers, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) had some time back changed the rules for withdrawal of the National Pension System (NPS). The minimum period required under NPS for partial withdrawal from the mandatory Tier-I 10 years has been reduced to 3 years from the date of joining, since August 10, 2017. The minimum gap of 5 years between two partial withdrawals was also been removed. Subscribers are now eligible for three partial withdrawals, but not over 25 per cent of the contribution made for each time. This, however, excludes the contribution made by the employer. Also, there are no restrictions on withdrawals made from the Tier-II accounts.

Partial withdrawals, however, are only permitted under the following conditions:

  • For children’s higher education and marriage.
  • To purchase or construct a residential house or flat. (However, if you already owns a house other than ancestral property, no withdrawal will be permitted)
  • If you as the subscriber, or legally wedded spouse, children, or dependent parents suffer from any specified illness, or critical illness of a life-threatening nature, which requires hospitalization, withdrawal can be made.
  • For any other self-development activities for the establishment of own business or any start-ups, withdrawal can be made.
  • Also, to cover incidental and medical expenses due to disability or incapacitation suffered, withdrawals are permitted.

EPF

The government established Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), popularly known as PF, for the employees of the organized sector. EPF interest rate is declared every year by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). It is currently offering 8.55 per cent interest. Every month to the EPF account both the employer and employee contribute 12 per cent of the employee’s basic salary and dearness allowance. However, employees of companies registered under the EPF Act can only invest in the EPF or PF.

EPF withdrawals, however, are only permitted under the following conditions:

  • You can withdraw 75 per cent of your PF corpus if you have been unemployed for a period of one month.
  • You can withdraw the entire PF corpus if your unemployment extends to two months.
  • If you withdraw your PF corpus within 5 years of account opening, the withdrawal will be taxable.
  • After the PF retirement age of 58 years, you can withdraw most of your corpus. The portion of the EPF corpus which is used for Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) paid as pension and is taxable.
  • Investment in the EPF qualifies for tax deduction under Section 80 C of the Income Tax Act up to Rs 1.5 lakh per annum.

PPF

A government-supported savings scheme, Public Provident Fund (PPF) is open to everyone. From employed to self-employed, unemployed or even retired can invest in this scheme. Unlike the EPF, this is not mandatory and one can contribute any amount to the PPF. However, the minimum and maximum investment has been set to Rs 500 and Rs 1.5 lakh per year, respectively. PPF comes with a fixed return which is set by the government every quarter. A PPF account can be opened either with the post office or with most major banks. Currently, the PPF interest rate is 8 per cent and is reviewed every quarter.

PPF withdrawals, however, are only permitted under the following conditions:

  • Only allowed after the expiry of 5 years from account opening, withdrawals from PPF accounts can be made.
  • Partial withdrawals from the PF account can also be made. However, you have to specify the reason for the withdrawal, as there are different grounds for partial withdrawal. For instance, you cannot withdraw PPF money due to unemployment.
  • Unlike EPF, PPF withdrawal is not taxable.
  • You can get tax deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961, on investments in PPF account up to Rs 1.5 lakh per annum.
  • The PPF maturity amount and the interest on the PPF are also exempt from tax but must be declared in the annual income tax return.

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