Provident Fund (PF) is a social security scheme for salaried employees that is governed by the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.
It serves as a retirement scheme for employees wherein a certain amount is deducted and saved from their salaries. Employers too contribute a certain sum towards the Provident Fund. Employees can utilize their PF funds upon retirement. In some cases, they can even withdraw their funds much before retirement.
According to the PF norms, every employer that has more than 20 employees must register under the EPFO. Furthermore, those employers who are registered must file their monthly and annual PF returns without fail.
As per the rule, every registered employer must mandatorily transfer PF contributions to employees’ accounts by the 15th of each month, file monthly PF returns by the 25th of each month, and process annual PF returns by 30th April every year.
Let’s take a look at PF return filing and the forms needed for the monthly and annual filing process below.
Here’s a look at the forms and the particulars under each that have to be filled and filed for monthly PF returns.
This form has to be filled by the employees that are registered under the PF scheme. It’s divided into two parts: Part A & Part B, and is filed as a nomination and declaration under the EPFO’s flagship scheme. This form is submitted along with Form 5.
The significance of this form is naming the nominees of the PF account holder. In other words, employees with PF account balance mention recipients of the PF amount who will receive the accumulated funds in the event of the account holder’s demise.
Part A of Form 2 will contain the following fields which must be filled by the employee.
Part A of the form must either contain the account holder’s thumb impression or signature.
Part B of Form 2 must again contain the details of the nominees that have been mentioned in Part A of the form. Additionally, this part will also contain the details of the nominees who are eligible to receive children/widow pension. Again, this part must mandatorily contain the account holder’s thumb impression or signature.
Form 5 is considered as a monthly report that contains the information of the employees who have been recently enrolled under the PF scheme. This form has to be filled, stamped and filed by the employer with the date of filing clearly mentioned on it.
This form will have the following fields that have to be filled by the employer.
Form 10 is also a monthly report that contains details of the PF subscribers who aren’t part of the scheme in a given month. This again must be filled, stamped, signed and filed by the employer.
The following fields in Form 10 are filled by the employer.
Form 12A is a monthly report that houses details of the payments made to employees’ individual PF accounts by the employer every month.
As mentioned before, apart from filing monthly PF returns, employers must also file an annual PF return by the 30th of April for the year ending on 31st March.
The forms required to file annual returns are: Form 3A & Form 6A.
Let’s take a look at what each form entails.
Form 3A is also known as the member’s annual contribution card. It contains details about the monthly contributions made by both the employer and the employee towards the employee’s PF account in a given year.
The information contained within this form is mandatory for every subscriber of the PF scheme. Furthermore, the form, with fields (as mentioned below) must be filled, signed, and stamped by the employer.
Form 6A is more of a consolidated annual statement that contains the contributions made towards every subscriber’s PF account in an organization. The fields in the form as mentioned below must be filled by the employer without fail.
Form 6A also has an ‘Amount Remitted’ column which will have the following fields.
Although the filing of returns is entrusted to the employer, the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) also takes the onus of sharing statements of PF accounts to each and every PF subscriber on behalf of the employer.
The annual account statement will contain the following details.
Filing of PF returns every month and once a year is mandatory for employers who are registered under the EPFO. In case an employer fails to file returns, authorities can impose severe penalties.
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