- Initial Works
- Types of Transfer
- EPF Transfer Form
- Procedure after filling the Form
- Problems in EPF Transfer
- Making Complaint
- Transfer Finally Happens
- Problems after Transfer
- Additional Notes
- Do we need any Other Form?
- Checking EPF Balance
- Update: New Grievance Redressal Facility by EPFO
EPF administered by EPFO is considered a complicated framework of legalities. Even the rules and regulations framed in the EPF Act sometimes seems beyond comprehension – firstly due to its complicated framework, secondly due to complications of various court judgment, thirdly due to so complicated forms, and finally due to ignorance of EPF employees to help the members of EPF.
I have found that the EPF people whether they be sitting at the PRO or others are simply oblivious of various intricacies of the EPF Act. And all this along with the fact that its officers – the APFC and RPFC prefer to be in their own ivory towers – that it is simply difficult (if not impossible) to meet them.
Given such a situation, for the common citizen, it is really a task to recon with when it comes to transfer of EPF account.
In our case, it was Madhu’s Account (my wife) who had been transferred from Asansol (WB) to Jabalpur (MP). She had been transferred in Sept 2007. Since, at that time, it was not certain whether she would not be transferred again to some other place, on my advice, she did not initiate the EPF transfer.
However, by 2009 beginning it was clear that she was going to be at Jabalpur for some years – so finally we thought that it was time to get the EPF balance transferred from RPFC Durgapur (under whose jurisdiction, Asansol is situated) to RPFC Jabalpur.
In this regards, I went to the local (Jabalpur) EPF office for the form – and they handed me a form which seemed complicated and confusing. I must mention here, that EPF office was happily giving away the old Form 13 stapled with Form 5 and 10, along with some attendance record sheet. All this was simply confusing.
I decided to cut the crap and go by the rule book. (Yes we had paper on EPF in CA inter level). I had previously done some EPF related work – but the EPF transfer was something new for me. Even a consultant who was regularly doing EPF work was not of much help – he showed me the same transfer form that I had got from the EPF office.
Types of Transfer
Now coming to the point – I would say – there are two types of EPF transfer for un-exempted enterprises (ie. for those organisations whose epf is managed by EPFO).
1) intra region – say from one city / district to another city / district under the jurisdiction of the same RPFC
2) inter region – this is transfer from one RPFC to another RPFC
(For exempted enterprises see Note 11 below)
The first one is comparatively easier as the records are with the same RPFC. Its the second one where the actual transfer of records and monies take place.
Our case was the second type – inter – region case.
EPF Transfer Form
I downloaded the EPF transfer form from the EPF website. This is Form 13. (Someone in the Ministry of Labour must have had a black sense of humour to put number 13 to the transfer form!).
The form is actually quite simple – and takes just 10 minutes to fill. The form is self explanatory. Only one copy of the form is to be filled (Please read Notes on Top of the Form 13).
: There are often queries on this blog that Form 13 is confusing, and as to how it should be filled. I am attaching here the images of the actual filled in form. Plz remember that it is inter-regional transfer from one RPFC (Durgapur) to another RPFC (Jabalpur). So if your case is related to EPF Trust (Exempted Enterprise), the form may have to be filled in a bit differently.
Also, if you see, despite all care some mistake does happen (as I noticed later – that in the covering letter, in attached, I had typed Form 13A instead of Form 13 !! But then, what matters is that Form 13 should be correctly filled – without any mistake.
Procedure after filling the Form
Once the form is filled – you have to submit it to your current employer’s HRD/Accounts office for attestation (the office that administers your salary) – and thereby for onward transmission to the address of RPFC EPFO of your previous employer.
There are various kinds of misconceptions in this – some would say -as one of the EPF PRO told me- that even signature of the previous employer is needed. This is totally baseless. The office of previous employer has nothing to do with your transfer of EPF account. The moment you have left it – they are duty bound to report that in the prescribed form to the EPF office. Their role ends there.
Once you have submitted your form 13 to your current employer – they after attesting the fact stated – have to send it to the RPFC EPFO where your previous account is located.
Even in this there may be variation – after attesting they may give it to you to send it !
Once the previous RPFC receives it – within a reasonable period they should transfer it to your current RPFC EPFO account.
Problems in EPF Transfer
However, even in this there can be variation – as it happened in our case. We had sent the Form 13 in month of March. In April we received a letter from APFC Durgapur, that the Form 13 has been received and it is being sent for verification to RPFC Jabalpur (verification of signatures and facts stated in the form).
So it was time for us to make round of the local Jabalpur EPF office. The people were courteous. However after much searching, they said that the said letter has not reached them. They told us that when they would receive the letter they would send the reply to RPFC Durgapur. They also said that we need not come to the office again and can confirm this through telephone – they gave us the office telephone numbers.
After passing of a month (as April is usually a month of various government holidays) we contacted the RPFC Jabalpur office – the particular Accounts cell in mid May – and they confirmed that they had sent the reply in first week of May.
Now it was time for us to wait. Nothing came up till July.
Having heard much about the Governments initiative of e-governance and redressal of grievances, we lodged a complaint through the PGPortal. After waiting for some weeks, I found that it was an useless exercise. [As an aside, I would say I have used it on three occasions - for Bank, Railways, and EPFO - and it worked properly only in case of Railways - but in other two - the e-system failed miserably in redressing the grievance]
So finally, it was time to take up pen and paper. Madhu wrote the letter, explaining the problem that despite all procedures having been completed – the EPF A/c had not been transferred till date. The letter was written in August. Two similar letter were sent. One was to the Cabinet Secretariat that deals with grievance relating to EPFO, and the other to the CPFC, EPFO. These addresses are being mentioned below:
Directorate of Public Grievances,
Government of India
Sardar Patel Bhavan,
New Delhi – 110001
|Central Provident Fund Commissioner,|
Bhavishya Nidhi Bhawan,
14, Bhikaiji Cama Place,
New Delhi-110 066
From both these places we received the acknowledgment and complaint number.
Transfer Finally Happens
And in first week of November, we received the letter from APFC Durgapur, that Madhu’s EPF Account has been transferred, giving out details of the transfer along with a copy of Form K (which gives the details of money being transferred).
Objectively seen, the procedure of EPF A/c transfer is amazingly simple and easy. It is unfortunate that the way EPFO works in a self serving manner has led to creation of problems for EPF holders. Worst of all, despite making noises, the EPFO has neither modernised, nor implemented its project of SSN numbers – that would have to some extent mitigated the problems of the EPF members.
Problems after Transfer
Update 16 Dec 2009: Since the transfer letter had arrived nearly one and half month ago, we decided that now, it was ripe time to go to EPFO Jabalpur to enquire whether the cheque was received and properly credited to Madhu’s EPF account. Interestingly, the PRO told us, that even the ‘boss’ was aware of the case and they had received no letter! He even showed me the correspondence that the EPFO SRO Jabalpur had done with SRO Durgapur in this regard. I understood that this correspondence related to complaint put through the PGPortal – which had remained inconclusive. (eventhough, the grievance had been redressed using other two channels mentioned above)
After waiting for some time, we met the top boss – the RPFC Jabalpur – who seemed to be a quick decision maker. He read the letter that we had received, and ordered that this be intimated to the accounts section. (The account section meaning the account formation that looks after the particular company relating to EPF matters) and the amount be properly credited. So based on the letter received by us, the order had been made !
Things moved quickly now. We now went to the accounts section – where we were told that legal issues are looked at by separate section (I failed to understand – what it really meant. I was only interested in knowing whether the letter with the cheque had been received by SRO Jabalpur). The gentlemen in the accounts formation finally told us to wait – till he checked up with the cash section (the one that actually looks after accounting and banking). So after about fifteen minutes – he came back – and told us that yes the letter and cheque had been received, and the cheque had already been deposited in the bank.
So, in a way, even within a SRO it was like one hand not knowing what the other was doing! But anyway, the transfer happened and reached its logical conclusion – so it was an interesting experience – with so many twists and turns – just like bollywood movie – except that this was serious business!
There are certain other observations also that I would like to make.
1) Link to download EPF transfer form: Form 13. This is the revised form – and only one copy is required to be submitted.
2) Notwithstanding the image of the EPFO organisation as corrupt (some even suggested that we needed to pay people in Durgapur office for the transfer!) the organisation does work. One would need to know the mechanism / procedures to make the system work! One has to keep proper documentation and be patient for the thing to resolve.
3) The governments e-governance system in case of redressal of public grievances is not efficient – and even can be called a failure. Infact those who think that the e-system of public grievance system works – are still at error. The government still moves faster with pen and paper!
4) At one point of time, I had contemplated using the RTI for this. However, better sense prevailed. This is because, RTI is quasi judicial thing – and my previous experience of RTI with ICAI has been that its better to catch the issue by the collar rather than be too polite by using the RTI. In the case of RTI with ICAI – I was given a flat refusal by the CPIO of ICAI. I wrote the matter to President ICAI through email – and I got the reply promptly from various quarters of ICAI – which had been denied to me previously by the ICAI bureaucray – whether written or through email! So once bitten – twice shy – I would prefer the executive machinery any day as a first preference for redressal of grievance rather than using the judicial or quasi judicial procedures. The quasi judicial process would be useful only after one has exhausted the offcial executive mechanism of grievance redressal.
5) The procedures of EPF system is totally outdated. Firstly, it seems that it was not made with all-india organisations in mind – where there are frequent transfers. Secondly, they are still transferring the money from one RPFC to another through cheques by registered post! Now come-on, EPFO is just a fund manager – with the only difference that it has certain statutory powers. And in our time when even the worst of PSU bank boasts of e-banking, the EPFO system continues with outdated system of transfering money.
6) Before moving ahead with any works relating to government organisations, we should also keep ready the addresses of grievance redressal mechanism for different ministries and departments and organisations of the government. Seemingly government moves faster with complaints rather than in the usual course!
7) Transfer of EPF A/c in this case means transfer of both Provident Fund A/c and Pension Fund A/c – these are currently governed by same EPF Number. Its actually the transfer of balance from the old EPF A/c (at previous place of posting) to the new EPF A/c (at current place of posting).
8 ) The EPFO hierarchy is (from below): APFC (Asstt PF Commissioner), RPFC (Regional PF Commissioner), Addl PFC etc, and at top its CPFC (Central PF Commissioner). Every field office of EPFO is under the charge of an RPFC. The RPFC can be Level I or Level II, the former being higher in rank. Moreover, the field office is also sub-divided. For example, the RPFC Jabalpur is basically a SRO (Sub Regional Office) under EPFO RO (Regional Office) Indore. Usually the RO is in charge of RPFC-I, and SRO in charge of RPFC-II. Similarly, the RPFC Durgapur is a SRO under EPFO RO Kolkata. However, for correspondence purpose the form 13 is sent directly to the relevant RPFC SRO directly. Often, the SRO is also called the field office. RPFC is the administrative incharge of the field formation.
9) For EPF A/c transfer purposes, the actual operative levels are the Accounts Section looking after the particular Company – such sections are headed by Accounts Officers, and they are supervised by the APFC. These are in a way accounts formations having jurisdiction over a number of organisations for EPF purpose. However, all correspondence should be addressed to the concerned RPFC.
10) Strictly speaking EPFO is not a Government organisation! It is a Trust having Board of Trustees. It is an autonomous organisation within the Ministry of Labour. But the way it works would put to shame many of the Government Departments in India!
Intra Region Transfer
In case of intra region transfer, the RPFC EPFO for the previous employer and the current employer would be the same – and in such intra regional transfers, since the transferor and the transferee RPFC office remains the same, the process of transfer is much quicker and easier to pursue.
Transfer From Exempted Enterprise
EPF account can also be managed by the Exempted Enterprises – ie. those organisations who have their own EPF Trust (being regulated by EPF Act). The transfer procedure and the transfer form is the same. In such case where the previous employer was an ‘exempted enterprise’, the transfer form 13, has to be attested and forwarded by the current employer directly to the EPF Trust managed by the previous employer.
Do we need any Other Form?
A question often asked is whether Form 5/10/3A/6 etc needs to be attached with Form 13?
The plain answer is NO. We do NOT need to attach any other form with the EPF Transfer Form 13.
If you want to attach any other paper (though the Form 13 does not require these), then you can attach:
1) Salary Slip of Previous Employer IF that contains EPF number of previous employment
2) Salary Slip of Current Employer IF that contains EPF number of current employment
3) The last copy of EPF statement of previous employment.
If one is attaching these – then one should clearly highlight in Yellow, the Name, the EPF number, and the month/year to which the statement belongs.
The copies of these salary slips / EPF statement can be self-attested.
The reason is that it makes it clearer that:
1) EPF numbers genuinely belong to you
2) As a cross check, its a good evidence.
Only ONE copy of Form 13 is required.
This Form 13 is merely 3 page (and only two pages have to be actually filled)- and in India, we have habit/mentality that anything important must be a thick file – otherwise it does not seem important! Unfortunately various Consultants / Accounts Office etc – without knowing the procedure keep asking for additional forms.
Also, the employer (ie. the current Pay office) has to attest only the Page 2 of the form 13 – that simply means that it is only attesting the current EPF number. Nothing more!
If you want to know what these other forms 5/10/3A/6 are, then read this comment thread.
Checking EPF Balance
A question is often asked by people – that they want to check their EPF balance. This can be done in two ways:
Online: This is very rarely implemented by EPFO. However some offices like EPFO Kerala that have this facility.
On Telephone: Other offices of EPF would tell the balance on phone. The link to EPF phone directory is: http://www.epfindia.com/epfo_directory.htm
Update: New Grievance Redressal Facility by EPFO
EPFO has made available a new grievance redressal facility, where grievance can be registered online. The links is: http://epfigms.gov.in/