EPF vs PPF

EPF and PPF are two of the most popular saving schemes for retirement. But they have major differences which make only one of them the right choice for you. 

What is EPF?

EPF, also popularly called PF, is short for Employees’ Provident Fund. Established by the government, it is a savings scheme for employees who work in the organized sector. 

The employer and the employee both contribute 12% of the employee’s basic pay and dearness allowance every month to the EPF account. The Employees Provident Fund Organization established under the Employees’ Provident Fund Act of 1956, declares the EPF interest rate every year. 

What is PPF?

PPF is short for Public Provident Fund and it is a savings scheme supported by the government. This scheme is available to everyone, employed, self-employed, retired, and even unemployed people. 

It is a voluntary savings scheme and you can contribute anywhere from Rs.500 to Rs.1.5 Lakh every year. The PPF interest rates are set by the government every quarter.

PPF vs EPF - Differences

Even though both EPF and PPF are retirement savings schemes, there are major differences between the two. Here is a table that outlines the dissimilarities of EPF vs PPF - 

Criteria

EPF

PPF

Income Tax Act that Governs it

Employees Provident Fund And Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

Government Savings Banks Act, 1873 

Eligibility

Only salaried employees of a company registered under the EPF Act

All resident Indian citizens, irrespective of their employment status 

Investment Amount

Minimum 12% of basic pay and DA 

From Rs.500 to Rs.1.5 Lakh in a year

Contributor

Both employee and employer

Self

Tenure

Dependent on the job. Can be transferred when changing companies till retirement. 

15 years, can be extended for 5 years indefinitely

Rate of Interest

Reviewed every year

Reviewed every quarter

Income Tax Benefits on Contribution Amount

Tax-deductible

Tax-deductible under Section 80C

Income Tax Benefits on Maturity Amount

Tax-free after completing 5 years

Tax-free

Detailed Comparison of EPF vs PPF

If you are still not clear on the differences between PPF vs EPF, read ahead for a detailed criteria-wise comparison.

When it comes to eligibility criteria, PPF vs EPF are very different. A PPF account can be opened by all resident Indians; employed, self-employed, unemployed, or retired. In fact, even minors can open accounts if their guardians represent them.

Only Hindu Undivided Families cannot open PPF accounts. NRIs cannot open new PPF accounts, but if they opened the account while they were still residing in India, they can enjoy its benefits.

EPF accounts can be opened by employees of firms that are registered under the EPF Act.  

EPF vs PPF contributions vary as in the case of EPF both the employer and the employee contribute to the employee’s account. A minimum of 12% needs to be contributed from the employee’s and the employer’s accounts.

But both the employee and the employer are free to contribute more than the minimum amount. Whereas in the case of a PPF account, the contributions are made by the account holder. Contributions can be by the guardian on behalf of a minor.

Account holders can make a maximum of 12 contributions to their PPF accounts. Any amount between Rs.500 and Rs.1.5 Lakh can be deposited in an account in one year. 

EPF vs PPF interest rates differ hugely but are both decided by the Government of India. The current interest rate for EPF 2022-23 has been fixed at 8.15%, whereas the current interest rate of PPF for Q3 of the financial year 2023-24 is 7.1%.

Another difference between PPF vs EPF interest rates is that the rates of EPF get revised every financial year. Whereas those for PPF get revised every quarter, i.e. four times in a financial year. 

Both EPF and PPF have tax exemptions if you invest in them, but the rules and regulations vary. 

After 5 years of investment, EPF withdrawals become tax-free under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. The upper limit for getting tax exemption is Rs.1.5 lakh per financial year, which applies to both the employee and employer contributions. Please note that TDS will be deducted if you withdraw more than Rs.50,000 before completing 5 years. 

PPF withdrawals are also exempt from taxes. In this case, the contributions, the interest, as well as the withdrawals are exempt from taxes. This also comes under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Up to 75% of the EPF corpus amount can be withdrawn if you have been unemployed for over a month. If you are unemployed for more than 2 months, you can withdraw the entire amount. But if this happens within 5 years of opening the account, the withdrawal will be taxable.

The maturity age for EPF is 58, after which you can withdraw most of your corpus amount. However, the part of the corpus that is used for the Employees’ Pension Scheme will be paid to you as a pension, which will be taxable based on your tax slab. Partial withdrawals are also allowed from the EPF account. 

When it comes to PPF, you cannot withdraw the amount due to unemployment. The term is 15 years and partial withdrawals are allowed after the start of the 5th year of the year of account opening. Loans can also be taken against the PPF amount. 

Conclusion

Both EPF and PPF are great ways to build a retirement fund. They inculcate a habit of saving while being sure that the money is in safe hands. 

Talking about the safety of EPF vs PPF, they are both secure government-backed saving instruments. EPF is managed by a body called the EPFO whereas the government directly manages the PPF. 

EPF has had slightly higher returns as compared to the PPF. Additionally, EPF is vulnerable to market movements. If the market collapses, it will be difficult for EPFO to maintain the interest rates.

The biggest drawback of EPF is that it is open only to employees of firms that are registered with the EPFO. This limitation is not present for PPF as anyone can open an account. On the other hand, a drawback of PPF is that it does not allow partial withdrawals before 5 years of account opening. PPF also has had lower interest rates as compared to EPF. 

All in all, both are great savings schemes to plan for your retirement. But in case you are looking for urgent funds, you can consider instant personal loans from moneyview. You can get amounts from Rs.5,000 to Rs.10 Lakh depending on your eligibility and requirements. 

EPF vs PPF - Related FAQs

No, EPF and PPF are two separate savings schemes managed by different bodies under the government. They can not be merged or converted from one to another.

No, one person can have only one PPF account. However, one can manage a minor’s account while maintaining his own.

There are no restrictions against having both EPF and PPF accounts. Having more funds for your retirement is always a good idea and you can choose to invest in multiple retirement schemes.

Yes, both EPF and PPF deductions come under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.

The lock-in period of PPF is 15 years.

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