I will be retiring next year. I expect to have accumulated ₹1.25 crore in Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and ₹30 lakh in the National Pension System (NPS) by the time of retirement. I will also get ₹60 lakh from superannuation funds. What would be the most tax-efficient manner of receiving the retirement proceeds? Also, is there a pension amount that I necessarily need to draw in the form of annuity? What would be the tax liability for the annuity and lump sum amounts, respectively?
—Name withheld on request
Retirement proceeds are by default tax-efficient in nature. However, it is good to understand the full tax impact for better planning. EPF, if withdrawn after continuous service of five years, is fully exempt at the time of withdrawal. In your case, you are withdrawing at the time of retirement, and hence, prima facie it should be exempt from tax. Also, many employees don’t withdraw the PF corpus as they believe that they will be earning interest on the same, which continues to remain tax-free. However, post any active contribution to EPF, the interest earned on the corpus is taxable and, hence, it is recommended that you withdraw the same post retirement.
Superannuation at the time of retirement can be withdrawn up to one-third of the total corpus and the balance amount is to be converted into an annuity fund where there are various options available on the basis of which a regular annuity can be received at a fixed interval. The lump sum withdrawn at the time of retirement is exempt from tax. The amount that is received at regular intervals in the form of annuity is taxable. For NPS, at the time of retirement, you can withdraw up to 60% of the corpus, which is fully tax-exempt, but you need to retain at least 40% of the corpus to receive regular pension. The pension received is part of your taxable income in the year of receipt.