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What’s The Process of an IEPF Claim? A Guide to the Steps

28, May 2024
IEPF Claim

The Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF) is an initiative by the Indian government to protect investors' interests. The IEPF refund process enables investors to reclaim unclaimed dividends, matured deposits, and other similar amounts. If you are an investor with unclaimed funds held by a company, you can recover these amounts through the IEPF by following a detailed, step-by-step process. In this blog, we will guide you through the IEPF refund process, highlighting the importance of claiming your unclaimed dividends and outlining the steps involved in making an IEPF claim.

What is IEPF?

IEPF, or the Investor Education and Protection Fund, is a fund created by the Government of India to enhance investor knowledge and protect their interests. Its main objective is to manage unclaimed dividends, matured deposits, and unclaimed shares to benefit investors. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) created the IEPF under Section 205C of the Companies Act, 1956. Later, the IEPF Authority was set up under Section 125(5) of the Companies Act, 2013 to manage and oversee the fund.

Key points about IEPF:

- Unclaimed Dividends and Deposits: The IEPF manages unclaimed dividends and matured deposits that companies and other entities transfer in accordance with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) regulations.

- Unclaimed Shares: Shares whose dividends or sale proceeds remain unclaimed for a specified period are also transferred to the IEPF.

- Investor Education: A portion of the fund is allocated for investor education and awareness programs, aiming to educate investors about financial markets, investment opportunities, and their rights.

- Protection of Investor Interests: The IEPF serves to protect investor interests by ensuring that unclaimed funds benefit the investors rather than being retained by companies.

- IEPF Authority: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs oversees the IEPF through the IEPF Authority, which is responsible for managing the fund and enforcing regulations related to the transfer of unclaimed amounts.

IEPF & Unclaimed Dividends

Unclaimed dividends are dividends that shareholders have not claimed within a specified period. Companies must transfer these unclaimed dividends to the IEPF after 7 years from the declaration date. Similarly, for fixed deposits, bonds, or other investments, any interest or maturity amounts that remain unclaimed for 7 consecutive years are also transferred to the IEPF. The IEPF manages these unclaimed amounts and is responsible for refunding them to their rightful owners.

Why Unclaimed Shares and Dividends Go to IEPF

According to Section 124(5) of the Companies Act of 2013, any dividend that remains unclaimed for seven consecutive years must be transferred to the IEPF. Similarly, per Section 124(6) of the same act, any shares for which dividends have not been claimed for 7 or more consecutive years are also required to be transferred to the IEPF.

Importance of Recovering Unclaimed Dividends

Recovering unclaimed dividends is crucial for investors for several reasons. Firstly, it represents their rightful earnings from their investments in a company. Secondly, only by claiming these dividends can investors benefit from potential interest earnings. Once dividends are transferred to the IEPF, the interest accrued on these amounts is typically lower than that on regular investments. Lastly, timely claiming of dividends helps prevent potential fraud related to unclaimed funds.

What is IEPF Form-5?

Form IEPF-5 is used for the refund process of unclaimed shares and dividends transferred to the IEPF. If dividends declared by companies remain unclaimed for a certain period, or if shares are transferred to the IEPF due to lack of communication from shareholders, investors can claim their unclaimed amounts or shares by submitting Form IEPF-5.

IEPF Claim Process

The IEPF claim process is straightforward and enables investors to recover their unclaimed amounts. This process can only be initiated after 7 years have passed since the dividend was declared or the deposit matured. There are several advantages to claiming unclaimed dividends through the IEPF refund process. At first, the process is hassle-free and does not require any intermediaries. Secondly, it is cost-effective, as there are no fees for claiming the refund. Lastly, it ensures that investors receive their rightful amounts promptly.

How to Recover Shares from IEPF - The Steps:

1. Obtain an Entitlement Letter: Ensure that the company has issued an entitlement letter before you claim shares from the IEPF.

2. Submit Form Online: Fill out the required form online on the official MCA website, including all relevant details, and submit it.

3. Receive SRN Number: After submission, you will receive an SRN number to track the status of your claim.

4. Send Form to Nodal Officer: Submit the same form along with all supporting documents to the Nodal Officer to initiate the IEPF claim verification process.

5. Company Verification Report: The company must provide the IEPF Authority with a verification report, indicating approval or denial of the claim, within 15 days of receiving the claim form.

6. IEPF Authority Approval: The IEPF Authority will verify the claimant's eligibility and the company’s verification report. If approved, a sanction order will be issued, and the shares will be credited to the claimant’s Demat account within 60 days of the company's submission of the verification report to the IEPF Authorities.

Documents Required to File an IEPF Claim

1. Identification: Self-attested copies of your PAN and Aadhaar cards.

2. Bank Details: A cancelled cheque leaf.

3. Demat Account Verification: A client master list for the Demat account, verified by both the Depository Participant (DP) and the claimant.

4. Submission Proof: Self-attestation of the SRN acknowledgment.

5. Indemnity Bond: A self-attested indemnity bond, witnessed by others.

6. Receipt: An advance stamped receipt with a revenue stamp, self-attested by the claimant and signed by witnesses.

7. Proof of Entitlement: A letter from the registrar and transfer agent, approved by the nodal officer.

8. Ownership Proof: Original share and investment certificates (if held in physical form) or a copy of the transaction statement (if held in Demat form). If original share certificates are lost, include documents submitted to the RTA for issuing duplicate shares.

9. For Foreigners and NRIs: Copy of passport and OCI/PIO card.

10. Additional Documentation: Any additional documents provided to the company for changes such as name, address, signature, or for issuing duplicate shares, etc.

Common Mistakes in the IEPF Process

Here are typical errors made when submitting an IEPF Form-5:

1. Mismatch in Applicant's Name: The name entered does not match the name in the PAN database.

2. Mismatch in Date of Birth: The date of birth entered does not match the date in the PAN database.

3. Unvalidated PAN Number: The PAN number has not been validated.

4. Incorrect Aadhaar Number: The Aadhaar number entered is incorrect.

5. Incorrect Passport or OCI/PIO Information: For foreign citizens, incorrect passport or OCI/PIO card details are provided.

6. Incorrect Application of Rule 7: Rule 7 of the IEPF Rules is incorrectly applied. If the original shareholder has passed away, it should be marked “Yes.”

7. Incorrect Rule 7 Selection for Name Deletion: In cases of name deletion, incorrectly marking Rule 7 as “Yes.” The death of a joint holder in a joint holding only results in a “Name deletion” and does not fall under IEPF Rule 7.

8. Incorrect Beneficiary Information: Incorrect information about the beneficiary or the deceased original security holder is provided.

9. Incorrect Folio Numbers: Incorrect folio numbers or multiple folios are entered incorrectly.

10. Incorrect Share Count: The total number of shares is entered incorrectly.

11. Incorrect Dividend Information: Incorrect dividend details that were transferred to the IEPF are provided.

12. Incorrect Bank or Demat Details: Incorrect bank account or Demat account details are entered. The bank account linked to the Demat account is the one that matters.

13. Incorrect or Missing Attachments: Incorrect attachments are provided, or mandatory attachments are missing.

The IEPF refund process facilitates the return of unclaimed amounts to investors. By following the outlined steps, you can successfully claim your refund from the IEPF. It's crucial to remember that the IEPF claim process is time-sensitive, so you must file your claim within the designated time frame. As an investor, regularly monitoring your investments and promptly claiming any refunds is essential to avoid losing your hard-earned money. To assist with this process, Share Samadhan, India's largest unclaimed investment retrieval advisory, can be an invaluable resource. Share Samadhan specializes in helping investors recover their unclaimed investments, providing expert guidance and support throughout the IEPF refund process. Our expertise ensures that you understand the process efficiently and successfully reclaim your unclaimed amounts.


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