yes, your CA is correct.
An individual has to pay tax on withdrawal of PF accumulations if the same has been withdrawn from a recognized PF account without rendering continuous services for five years or more with the employer.
On change in employment in the past, if the accumulated PF balance has been transferred to the PF account of the new employer, then the period of previous employment should also be considered as part of continuous service and accordingly, the five years is computed.
Since this is your first job with the current employer and the total period of service with the employer is less than five years (i.e., four years), if you withdraw the PF balance, it shall be taxable in the financial year (FY) of withdrawal.
The aggregate of employer’s contribution to PF and interest earned thereon will be taxable as salary.
Further, to the extent of the deduction claimed by you under section 80C of the Income-tax Act, 1961, on your own contribution to the recognized PF shall be taxed as salary.
Also, the interest earned on your own contribution to PF shall be taxed as “income from other sources”. The tax rate would depend on your applicable income slab in each of the FY(s) during which the PF contributions were made. Further, the surcharge (as applicable) and education cess, shall be applicable, for each of the FYs will also be payable in addition to the basic income tax.
If the cumulative years of service with the current and new employer are more than five years, the withdrawal will not trigger tax liability.
IF you have terminated the service due to your ill health, or discontinuance of employer's business, or reason beyond employee's control, the amount will be Tax exempt.
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