PF taxation: Rs 62,500 cr accumulated in EPF accounts of 1.23 lakh HNIs for FY19

New Delhi: Net new enrolments with retirement fund body EPFO grew by 27.79 per cent to 13.36 lakh in January compared to the same month in 2020, according to the payroll data released on Saturday, providing a perspective on formal sector employment amid the coronavirus pandemic. "The provisional payroll data of EPFO published on 20th March, 2021, highlights a growing trend of subscriber base with the addition of 13.36 lakh net subscribers during the month of January 2021," a labour ministry statement said. It stated that the data reflects growth of 24 per cent for the month of January 2021 over December 2020. "Year-on-year comparison of payroll data indicates an increase of 27.79 per cent in net subscribers’ as compared to the corresponding period last year (January 2020), indicating return to the pre-Covid levels of subscriber growth for EPFO," the ministry stated. Despite COVID-19 pandemic, the EPFO added around 62.49 lakh subscribers during the first ten months of 2020-21, the data showed. During 2019-20, the number of net new subscribers rose to 78.58 lakh as compared to 61.12 lakh in the preceding fiscal, the data showed.

New Delhi: As much as Rs 62,500 crore has accumulated as provident fund of some 1.23 lakh high net-worth individuals (HNIs) in the retirement fund corpus for 2018-19, with a staggering Rs 103 crore accumulating in the account of the highest contributor, sources said on Thursday.

The Budget 2021-22 has removed the tax exemption status to interest accrued on investments in employees provident fund (EPF) exceeding Rs 2.50 lakh per annum.

The sources in the revenue department said there are a total 4.5 crore contributors in the Employees” Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) account. Out of these, more than 1.23 lakh accounts are of the HNIs who contribute monthly huge sums to their EPF accounts.

“Their total contribution is to the tune of Rs 62,500 crore for 2018-19, and the government is owing or paying an assured interest at the rate of 8 per cent with tax exemptions to these very high income category persons at the cost of honest low- and middle-income, salaried class and other taxpayers,” said one of the sources justifying the need for taxing such high interest earners.

The sources said one of the highest contributors has more than Rs 103 crore in his account, followed by two second-highest ones having more than Rs 86 crore each. The top-20 HNIs have about Rs 825 crore in their accounts, while top-100 HNI contributors have more than Rs 2,000 crore.

The Budget provision has been introduced to remove disparity among contributors and to ensure that the HNIs who park huge sums of money to misuse and game the provision of assured high interest are checked and do not distortedly earn at the cost of other honest taxpayers” money, said the sources.

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