Govt. to take final call on EPF tax before Parliament debate on Finance Bill

NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that the Government will take a final decision on the Budget proposal to tax 60 per cent of Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) savings of those earning over Rs. 15,000 per month, before it responds on the issue during the debate on the Finance Bill in Parliament.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with MoS for Finance Jayant Sinha at a post-Budget interaction with industry associations, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

“We will respond in Parliament…,” Mr. Jaitley said on Wednesday morning at a post-Budget interactive session with representatives of Indian trade and industry associations, including CII, FICCI and Assocham.

The Finance Ministry had issued a clarification on Tuesday that EPF savings will not be taxed at retirement, if the retiring employee opts to use 60 per cent of his EPF account balance to buy an annuity product that provides them a monthly pension. The Budget had announced that 40 per cent of the EPF savings will be tax-free at the time of withdrawal on retirement.

Mr. Jaitley said that the tax proposal was not aimed at revenue generation, but help everyone get a pension in their old age.

“The balance 60 per cent [of EPF savings] if converted to annuity and used for a regular pension will not be taxed. The objective is to incentivise people to get pension and disincentivise consumption of savings,” he said at the post-Budget meeting with industry associations.

Stressing that the proposal would only impact high-income private sector employees, the Minister said that nearly 3 crore active EPF members receiving monthly salaries of less than Rs. 15,000 and would not be affected by the tax.