Section 17 of the EPF Act provides that an establishment (where 20 or more employees are employed) can obtain an exemption from the provisions of the EPF Act by making an application, if such an establishment has set up a private provident fund trust to implement a social security scheme which is as or more beneficial to its employees, than the EPF Act and the Scheme. During the pendency of such an application for exemption, regional PF commissioners, under paragraph 79 of the Scheme, may grant relaxation to such establishments from compliance with the provisions of the EPF Act and the Scheme.
The Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has by a notification dated 24 July 2012 withdrawn this power delegated to Regional Provident Fund Commissioners (RPFCs) in-charge of Regional/Sub-Regional offices to grant a relaxation to establishments (which set up private provident fund trusts) under paragraph 79 of the Scheme. By virtue of this notification, an order of relaxation under paragraph 79 has become redundant. Further, all establishments which currently have a relaxation and are enjoying tax benefits under the Income Tax Act, 1961 are required to obtain an exemption under section 17 of the EPF Act before 31 March 2013 to continue enjoying these benefits.