Section 80C Deduction: Tax Saving Investment Options Under Section 80C

With so many taxsaving investments available to investors, an investor might get overwhelmed in choosing the right tax-saving investment option for their portfolio. Some popular tax-saving investments include ELSS funds, Public Provident Fund (PPF), National Pension System (NPS), bank fixed deposits (FD), Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (SCSS), etc. In this article, we will focus on two common types of investments – PPF and NPS. Read on to understand which investment option is better suited for your investment portfolio.Both NPS and PPF are suited to meet the long-term objectives of investors. Under PPF schemes, an investor can either entirely withdraw the PPF maturity amount or withdraw partially from the PPF scheme as per their investment needs. On the other hand, NPS scheme provide investors the option of withdrawing just up to 60% of their NPS corpus. The balance amount of the NPS scheme is paid out as pension or annuity.

Even though both the type of investment provides tax benefits of up to Rs 1.5 lac u/s 80C, both these tax-saving investments have a different structure. Hence, a comparison between the two might not be that fruitful. Both the investment options have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Rather than figuring out which is better investment option for your investment portfolio, it might be a better idea to make the use of both these investment options to accumulate a substantial sum of money over time. However, to make an informed investment decision, it’s important to understand the differences between the two.

About NPS scheme

NPS is primarily focused on retirement as it is accompanied with a mandatory pension or annuity. Under NPS scheme, an investor needs to keep investing till the age of 60 years once they have opened the NPS account. When the investor turns 60, the NPS scheme matures, post which an investor can withdraw up to 60% of their NPS corpus as tax-free money. The balance amount is further transferred to a life insurance company that offers the investor with a lifetime pension. The pension is taxable under the hands of the annuitant at the time of receiving the money.

About PPF scheme

PPF schemes have a 15-year investment horizon that offers investors with predetermined returns until maturity of the PPF scheme. However, an investor can extend this up to 5 years. The government of India sets the interest rate on these tax-saving schemes at the start of each quarter of a financial year. Currently, the government has set the interest rate on PPF schemes at 7.1% per annum which is compounded annually. An investor can save anywhere between Rs 500 up to Rs 1.5 lac under PPF schemes. The maturity amount received on PPF schemes are entirely tax free. Considering the pre-tax returns on PPF schemes and the rate of inflation, it is recommended to invest in PPF tax-saving investments to save through debt assets.

Experts and financial advisors often advise investors to not look at any tax-saving investment from a tax angle solely. This includes PPF schemes and NPS schemes as well. A healthy mix of equity funds (perhaps ELSS mutual funds), NPS scheme, and PPF funds can help an investor meet their post-retirement needs in a seamless manner. Happy investing!


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