SECTION 80C lists down the instruments, which you can invest in order to save tax. You can invest a maximum of Rs 1.5 lakh in all these instruments put together and the entire amount of Rs 1.5 lakh will be deducted from your taxable income.
You can get a deduction for the following investments you make:
1. A life insurance policy or a unit-linked insurance plan (ULIP). The lock-in period for ULIPs is between 3 to 5 years and the returns vary depending on the performance of your fund. However, if your annual premium exceeds 120 per cent of the sum assured on your policy, your deduction will be restricted to 10% of the sum assured. Moreover the amount received on maturity will be fully taxable in case the premium paid in respect of the policy exceeds 10% of the sum assured in any of years. will not get the tax benefit.
2. A retirement benefit plan offered by mutual funds . Examples are the UTI Retirement Benefit Plan and Templeton India Pension Plan.
3. A Provident Fund, provided that the fund is covered under the Provident Fund Act. This would mean investments made by you through salary deduction in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account or as direct payment as also investments that you make directly in the Public Provident Fund (PPF). You can invest up to Rs 1.5 lakh in the PPF account. The current rate of return on EPF is 8.75 per cent while that on PPF is 8.7 per cent.
4. An approved superannuation fund. Usually your employer, on behalf of you, does this by deducting the investment amount from your salary.
5. National Savings Certificates (NSCs).
6. Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) offered by mutual funds.
7. Pension policies offered by insurance companies where benefits were earlier available under section 80CCC within the overall limit of Rs. 1.5 lacs. Earlier, there was a limit of Rs 10,000 on such investments; however that ceiling has now been removed.
8. Bank fixed deposits that provide the Section 80C tax benefit. They come in with a lock-in of 5 years. Apart from the investments mentioned above, you can also get a deduction on certain expenses that you incur. Mainly, these include the principal repayment on your home loan and the tuition fees you pay on your children's education.