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EPF Return Filing

In India, a social security system known as the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) was introduced to promote savings amongst employees and provide retirement benefits. Both employers and employees make monthly contributions towards the EPF, and employers with EPF registration are required to file monthly returns. Failing to file EPF returns on time can result in penal damages. To avoid such consequences, it’s crucial to be aware of the EPF return filing procedure and due dates. In this blog post, we will delve into the various forms used for EPF return filing in India and provide useful information to help you stay compliant with EPF regulations.

1. Introduction to EPF Return Filing

EPF (Employee Provident Fund) is a social security system that promotes savings among employees and benefits them during retirement. Every month, both the employee and the employer make contributions towards the PF, which can only be withdrawn by the employee during their employment period, with a few exceptions. Employers with PF registration must file monthly PF returns before the 25th of each month. This involves completing various forms such as Form 2 for new employees, Form 5 for monthly report details, and Form 10 for details on employees who have ceased to be a part of the scheme. Annual returns are due by the 30th of April, and this includes Form 3A for month-wise contribution and Form 6A for a consolidated annual contribution statement of each member. Non-compliance with PF return filing can result in penalties and legal action, so it is crucial to follow the rules and deadlines closely. Filing PF returns electronically through the EPFO portal is a convenient and efficient way of meeting these requirements. 

2. Importance of PF Registration for Employers

PF registration is imperative for employers in India as it ensures compliance with regulations and cultivates a healthy work environment. By registering with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), employers can ensure that their employees receive a range of benefits that ultimately lead to their financial security. The PF scheme provides long-term savings for employees, making it an attractive choice for top talent in the job market. Also, registering for PF is a legal requirement for any establishment with twenty or more employees, and timely compliance with regulations can lead to a reputation of trustworthiness and accountability in the industry. Failure to register with the EPFO can result in hefty fines and other legal consequences. Hence it is crucial for employers to prioritize PF registration and ensure timely and accurate return filing for a smooth and successful business operation. As the saying goes, “Compliance is not a choice, it’s a necessity.” 

3. Monthly Due Dates for PF Return Filing

As per the EPF rules, employers must file their PF returns every month. The monthly due date for PF return filing is the 25th of each month. It is essential to adhere to this deadline to avoid any penalties or fines. Delayed filing of the PF returns may attract interest and damages.

To ensure timely and accurate filing, employers must be aware of the required forms, procedures, and rules. One must file Form 2, Form 5, and Form 10 as part of the PF return filing process. Form 2 is for employees joining the establishment, Form 5 is a monthly report of newly enrolled employees, and Form 10 contains details of the employees that have ceased to be a part of the scheme in the given month. The annual PF returns must be filed by the 30th of April in a given year.

Employers can electronically file their PF returns through the Electronic Challan cum Return (ECR) on the Unified Portal. Both the filing and payment processes can be completed at the same time, simplifying the process for employers.

Overall, it is vital for employers to maintain compliance with the PF return filing due dates and procedures to avoid any potential penalties or legal issues. As IndiaFilings states, “Maintain payroll & tax compliances seamlessly through IndiaFilings.com. Get a Dedicated Accountant and LEDGERS compliance platform for your business.” 

4. Forms Required for PF Return Filing

One of the essential aspects of PF return filing in India is the proper and accurate submission of forms. The forms required for PF return filing include Form 2, Form 5, Form 10, Form 12A, Form 3A, and Form 6A. Form 2 is a declaration and nomination form used by employees who are joining an establishment and must be submitted along with Form 5. According to IndiaFilings, “Form 5 is a monthly report that contains the details of the employees who are newly enrolled in the provident fund scheme,” including the date of birth of each employee, and must be filed and stamped by the employer with the date of filing mentioned on it. Form 10 contains the details of employees who have ceased to be a part of the scheme on a given month and must be filed and stamped by the employer. On the other hand, Form 12A is a report that contains the payment details, including the wages of the employee and the employee and employer’s contribution to the employee’s account in a particular month. Annual returns must be filed using Form 3A and Form 6A, which contain the month-wise and consolidated annual contribution of each member of an establishment and details of the contributions from employers, as well. Failure to comply with the forms and procedure related to PF return filing can result in severe consequences. 

5. Electronic Filing Procedure for PF Returns

Electronic filing of PF returns has made the filing process much easier and hassle-free for employers. The EPFO portal provides an option for e-filing of PF returns, which can be accessed using the Establishment ID and password. With this feature, employers can now file their returns online without the need to visit the EPFO office. This saves time and effort and ensures timely filing of the returns. A user manual and FAQ section is available on the portal to assist employers with the filing process.

“The e-filing process is quick and easy. We can submit our PF returns from anywhere with just a few clicks,” says a satisfied employer. The benefits of e-filing are multifold. It saves time, avoids errors, and eliminates the need for physical submission of documents. Employers can also keep track of their returns and view the status of their submissions. With the digitalization of the process, employers can now fulfill their PF filing obligations without any hassle. The e-filing process is truly a game-changer for the smooth functioning of PF return filing. 

6. Consequences of Non-Compliance with EPFF Rules

Nonpliance with EPF rules can result in serious consequences for employers. The EPFO can impose a penalty of up to ₹ 5000 for each day of delay in filing PF returns. Additionally, failure to file PF returns can lead to a loss of benefits for employees, such as delayed or reduced pension payments. It is important for establishments to file their PF returns accurately and on time to avoid any legal action or penalties. As per the EPF Act, it is mandatory for all establishments covered under the Act to file PF returns. Establishments with 20 or more employees are required to file monthly PF returns by the 15th of the following month. For government establishments, returns must be filed quarterly by the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. Non-compliance with EPF rules can lead to a financial strain for employers and create a negative impact on their reputation. Therefore, timely and accurate filing of PF returns is crucial for compliance. Remember, “Failing to comply with the EPF scheme can lead to legal action against the establishment.” 

7. Rules and Regulations for PF Return Filing

When it comes to PF return filing, there are certain rules and regulations that need to be followed. These regulations have been put in place to ensure timely and accurate filing. Let’s take a look at the rules and regulations for PF return filing in India:

– PF return filings are to be completed by the 25th of each month.

– Final PF return is due on the 25th of April for the year ending on the 31st of March.

– Employers that hold more than 20 employees should register with EPFO.

– PF payments are due on the 15th of each month.

– Annual returns for PF must be filed by 30th April of every year.

– Provident Fund returns must be filed by all entities having PF registration every month.

– The process by which a PF return has to be filed by the employer has to be in compliance with the requirements of the Employees Provident Fund System.

By following these rules and regulations, employers can ensure that their PF return filing is accurate and timely. This will not only benefit the employees but also save the employers from penalties that may be imposed for non-compliance. So make sure you stay updated on the rules and regulations for PF return filing in India. 

8. Annual Consolidated Statements of PF Contributions

An aspect of EPF return filing is the submission of the Annual Consolidated Statements of PF Contributions. This statement must be submitted to the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) by the employer at the end of each financial year. The consolidated statement contains details about the annual contributions of each member of the establishment. The statement includes information such as wages, retaining allowance, and the amount of worker’s and employer’s contributions made towards the EPF and Pension Fund. It is also important to include the amount of higher voluntary contribution (if any) and the remitted contribution (including refunds of advances). This statement is crucial for determining the opening balance of contributions (including interest of both employer and employee), annual contributions made by employer and employee, and the total number of contributions made by both parties. The EPFO is also regulated to send the annual statement of accounts to each subscriber through their employer. Submitting the Annual Consolidated Statement of PF Contributions is an important part of ensuring accurate and timely EPF return filing. 

9. Step-by-Step Guide to Filing PF Returns

Filing Provident Fund (PF) returns has now become an easy and hassle-free process that can be completed online. In order to file your PF returns, follow these simple step-by-step instructions:

– Login into EPFO web portal using your ECR credentials.

– Check that your provident fund code establishment name, address, and exemption status are correctly showing in your account.

– Select ECR upload option from the payment menu.

– Choose the wage month and salary disbursal date from the ECR upload screen and upload the ECR text file for the selected month.

– Make sure that the ECR file format matches the format prescribed by EPFO.

– Select the rate of contribution (either 10% or 12%), and then upload the file.

– The uploaded ECR file will be validated for predefined conditions. If validation is successful, you’ll see a “file validation successful” message on the screen.

– Generate TRRN for the uploaded ECR file and prepare the challan.

– Edit the challan amount, if required, and click on the ‘Finalize’ button.

– Pay the challan and select the payment mode as online through the given list of banks.

– Get payment confirmation instantly through SMS.

File your PF returns in a timely manner to avoid any unnecessary penalties. By doing so, you can enjoy a stress-free process, and your contributions will be credited to your account every month. 

10. Benefits of Accurate and Timely PF Return Filing

Acc and timely filing of PF returns can bring multiple benefits to employers and employees alike. Here are a few reasons to emphasize the importance of adhering to this compliance requirement:

– Avoid Penalties and Legal Action: Non-compliance with PF return filing can result in penalties of up to ₹ 5000 per day of delay and legal action. Filing PF returns accurately and on time can help save money and time for businesses.

– Ensure Employee Welfare: PF contributions made by the employer and the employee go towards building a retirement corpus for the latter. Accurate filing of PF returns ensures that employees receive their due benefits in a timely manner.

– Build Confidence and Trust: By complying with EPF scheme rules and regularly filing PF returns, organizations can build credibility and trust among their employees, customers, and stakeholders.

– Simplify Auditing and Accounting: Accurate and timely filing of PF returns can simplify auditing and accounting processes, reducing the likelihood of errors and discrepancies.

– Be in Line with Government Regulations: By complying with PF return filing requirements, businesses can ensure that they are adhering to government regulations and avoiding any legal or financial repercussions.

In summary, accurate and timely filing of PF returns can help businesses avoid penalties, ensure employee welfare, build trust, simplify accounting, and comply with government regulations. 

11. Documents required for EPF Return Filing in India

To EPF returns in India, employers have to submit a variety of documents. 

These include Form 2, which is a declaration and nomination under the flagship scheme of the Employment Provident Fund and the Employment Family Pension Scheme, to be filed by employees who are joining the establishment. 

Form 5 is a monthly report that includes details on employees who are newly enrolled in the PF scheme, and Form 10 contains the details of employees who have ceased to be a part of the scheme in the given month. Apart from these, a consolidated annual contribution statement called Form 6A is also required.

In addition to these forms, the employer must obtain a digital signature for filing online and keep track of the contributions made to the PF account. Employer contributions towards PF and pension funds must be paid on time, failing which penalties may be incurred. With the help of dedicated accountants and compliance platforms, employers can easily maintain payroll and tax compliances and complete PF return filings by the 25th of every month. As a leading social security system in India, EPF provides financial benefits to employees during retirement and encourages savings. With proper documentation and timely filing of returns, employers can stay compliant and ensure the well-being of their employees.

12. Process of EPF Return Filing in India

EPF return filing is an important process that needs to be followed by all establishments with EPF registration in India. Monthly PF returns need to be filed by the 25th of each month through the unified portal, and delay in filing can attract penalties. It is important to maintain accurate records of employee contributions and employer contributions, including details of UAN (KYC complied) of employees. The forms to be submitted for EPF return filing are Form 3A and Form 6A. The EPF returns can only be filed for those members whose Aadhaar numbers are seeded and verified with the UAN, making the Aadhaar card a mandatory document for filing of EPF returns.

To file for EPF return filing, the following steps can be followed:

– Book your EPF return filing with a trusted tax expert
– Submit the required documents for review
– Get assigned a dedicated tax expert to assist you with the filing process
– Keep track of your order status in your assigned account

Filing of PF returns involves multiple forms for different purposes, including submission of details of new employees and those who leave the organization, details of contributions made, and consolidated annual contribution statement. 

13. Frequently Asked Questions about EPF Return Filing in India

Here are 13 frequently asked questions about EPF return filing in India:

1. How can I lodge my grievance regarding EPF return filing in India?

“A complainant can lodge his/her grievance online on – https://epfigms.gov.in. If the complainant has UAN/Establishment/PPO number then he can directly enter his respective detail and fill his/her grievance category and description of grievance along with uploading supporting documents.”

2. Which companies or establishments are eligible for EPF scheme?

“This scheme applies to all companies or establishment which employs 20 or more than that. However, if a company or establishment stops its operation or continues without any employee, then this scheme is not applicable.”

3. What is the salary limit for EPF scheme eligibility?

“An employee whose salary (BASIC+DA) at the time of entry into scheme is more than Rs.15,000 is excluded from this scheme.”

4. What is the contribution percentage of employer and employee?

“The detailed recent changes are written in my earlier post. Please go through it and available in below link.”

5. Can I mention nomination while filing EPF returns?

“Yes, nomination is necessary for EPF. This helps to get the money in case of sudden demise of member. Usually if the member is married then he should nominate to spouse or kids. If he is unmarried then he can nominate his parents.”

6. Can I contribute more than 12% of my salary to EPF?

“Yes, you have the option to contribute more. But the employer has no such obligation to match your contribution. Such contribution is called Voluntary Provident Fund (VPF). Interest benefit will be the same as that of EPF.”

7. Who is responsible for depositing the EPF contribution?

“Your employer has the whole responsibility to deposit all amounts which is deducted from the employee as well as an employer contribution.”

8. Can trainees or apprentices come under EPF?

“An employee who is considered as trainee or apprentice will not be covered under this act.”

9. What is the EPF portal?

“The EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund Integrated Grievance Management System) is an interactive portal where the complainant can add additional supporting documents pertaining to his grievance and EPFO offices too can ask for documents as well as seek further inputs from the complainant regarding his/her grievance.”

10. How can I track the status of my grievance on EPF portal?

“After successfully lodging the grievance, a unique registration number is generated and sent on his mobile number or email id. The complainant can see/check the status/disposal of his grievance on the above mentioned portal through registration number.”

11. Can an EPF member withdraw his contribution without employer signature?

“Now you can withdraw EPF without your employer signature.”

12. Is EPF portal available for seeking feedback from the complainant?

“The EPF portal also has the provision for seeking feedback from the complainant with respect to the quality of redressal of his/her grievance in the form of star ratings.”

13. Can an EPF member mention multiple nominations?

“Yes, an EPF member can mention multiple nominations and must disclose the percentage of sharing. In addition, if the member doesn’t have any family members, then he can nominate anyone of his choice. Do remember that once the member acquires a family then such nomination will become void.”

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