The financial year is about to end in a few days. By now, you should be ready with your investments under Section 80 C of the Income Tax Act in order to make the most of the tax-saving provisions.
If you have not, you’re going to have to make a dash and save whatever tax you can. There are several tax-saving instruments that allow you to save tax under Section 80 C. Here’s how to avail them in a hurry.
Public Provident Fund (PPF)
PPF with its 15-year maturity period, is the best small saving scheme available to individuals. It offers safety of capital along with best-in-class returns of 8% per year currently. You can apply for a PPF account at authorized banks and post offices. It can also be opened through the netbanking portals of authorized banks.
To open an account, you would need an ID proof, address, proof and two coloured photographs along with the duly filled application form. You would get the PPF passbook once the account is opened. You can invest any amount between Rs. 500 and Rs 1.5 lakh in PPF in a financial year. You can opt for an auto debit facility while investing in PPF. You can invest a lump sum amount or a fixed amount in regular interval in the PPF account.
National Savings Certificate (NSC)
NSC can be bought or redeemed through the e-mode online. Also, post offices are allowed to sell NSC in physical form with transactions noted on a passbook. Earlier, NSC was available in physical form, but in 2016 the government discontinued the practice. NSC currently offers an interest rate of 8% PA compounded half yearly. The minimum investment required is Rs. 100, with no maximum limit. The tenure of investment is five years, and the interest earned during the last year is taxable. You can buy NSC through the netbanking portals of authorized banks or through the post office. You’ll need to submit your KYC documents. Buying it through the post office, you would get a passbook with the investment details. Buying it online, your documents would remain in electronic form to be downloaded any time.
Equity Linked Saving Scheme (ELSS)
ELSS are equity oriented tax saving mutual fund schemes where investments are deductible under Section 80 C up to Rs. 1.5 lakh. You can invest in ELSS through any of the mutual fund companies by visiting its office or its website, or through a distributor’s website. You need to provide KYC documents along with a cheque for investment if making the investment offline. Through online channels, you can make the payment through netbanking. ELSS investments can be made as a lump sum or through a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP). ELSS investments have a three-year lock-in. You can start investment with amounts as low as Rs. 500 and thereafter increasing it in multiples of Rs. 100.
Life insurance can easily be bought online through the insurer’s website or online insurance aggregators. The premium paid is deductible under 80 C. However, make sure you’ve adequately understood your insurance needs. Life insurance products are long-term commitments, and they should not be bought in a hurry without fully understanding one’s insurance needs.
Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS)
The SCSS offers a best-in-class interest rate at 8.5% compounded quarterly. It is offered by the government of India and one can invest through authorized banks or post offices. KYC documents such as self-attested copy of ID proof, address proof, PAN copy and valid proof of date of birth are needed. The investment can be made through cheque or ECS. The minimum investment amount required for SCSS is Rs. 1000 and multiples thereof. The upper limit is Rs. 15 lakh. The maturity period is five years and can be extended for another three years. The minimum age to make a SCSS investment is 60 years.
Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme/Yojna (SSS/SSY)
Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme is a tax-saving investment product for persons who can invest in the name of their girl child, who acts as a beneficiary. The age of the girl child should not be more than 10 years. A family can open a maximum of two accounts for two girl children. At present, it offers a best-in-class rate of return of 8.5% PA. A minimum investment of Rs. 1000 is required to open the account and thereafter one can deposit from Rs 1000 to Rs 1.5 lakh per year. You can open an SSS account at the post office or at authorized banks. Further, deposits can also be made through the electronic mode. For opening an account, you need the account opening form along with the birth certificate of the girl child, residential proof, and KYC documents as per RBI’s guideline.
Five Year Fixed Deposit
You can open a five-year deposit with your bank or post office. The investment earns an interest at the rate of 6.5% to 8%, depending on the bank. You can open this deposit through your netbanking account or by visiting the branch. Through the post office, you can open a time deposit account after filling out the account opening form at the post office and submitting it with KYC documents and copy of PAN card. The payment can be made through cheque or cash.The author is CEO, BankBazaar.com