"...all the pending proposals fit for grant of (Income Tax) exemption shall be forwarded to Head Office latest by 15th November, 2013 for placing (those)... before Central Board of Trustees (CBT) and for submission to appropriate government thereafter," the body's office circular said.
According to the Employees' Provident Fund Organisations (EPFO) directive, this is the last time, Finance Ministry has extended the deadline for private provident fund trusts to seek regular income tax exemption (PPFTs) till March 31, 2014.
    
At present, these PPFTs are operating on the basis of ad-hoc (temporary) income tax exemption and they are supposed to seek regular exemption from the state or central governments' labour departments.
    
With employees facing the threat of losing income tax waiver on retirement benefits, the latest Budget has extended the deadline for seeking exemption certificate by private PF trusts for one year till March 31, 2014.
    
In 2006, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who was at the helm of affairs, had made it mandatory for all private PF trusts (PPFT) to seek exemption certificates either from the Labour Ministry or from the State Labour Department within a year for enjoying tax benefits.
    
Since all these trusts could not get the exemption certificates in that year, annual waiver was being given by successive budgets, on request from the Labour Ministry.
    
The firms operating in one state are required to seek exemption from that State’s Labour Department. Entities having operations in more than one state will have to get it from the Union Labour Ministry. There were around 2,700 PPFTs, out of which majority did did not have the exemption certificate.
    
The body also observed, "The exemption proposals are submitted by Regions to Head Office in a very casual way without proper verification of all check points, without analysing the compliance audit reports and without all required documents."
    
According to the circular, there are around 295 such pending proposals with the EPFO on various grounds.
    
It also said that the work may be completed in a time-bound manner and failure to forward the complete proposal within the time prescribed will be viewed seriously.

(Agencies)

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