Section 80C of Income Tax Act provides tax deductions upto ₹1.5 lakhs for various instruments to encourage citizens to save and invest their income sensibly.
Employee Provident Fund (EPF): Provident Fund contributions made by employees from their salaries and interest earned on the same are eligible for Section 80C deduction. However, contributions made by employer and interest on them are taxable under ‘salary’ in your returns. The rate of interest is 8.55% p.a. Any employee can open an EPF account with a basic salary higher than ₹15,000/month.
Public Provident Fund (PPF): These are one of the best tax saving options. These are long term investments offered by the government. The current rate of interest on PPF is 8% p.a. The minimum investment limit is ₹500 and the maximum limit is ₹1.5 lakh. Both deposits and interest from these accounts are eligible for Section 80C deduction.
Life Insurance Premium: Annual premium paid for a life insurance policy in the name of you or your spouse and children is a good tax saving option. Deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act is valid only if the premium is less than 10% of the sum assured.
Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS): Equity-Linked Savings Schemes are mutual funds designed for tax-saving. Investments in these instruments are tax-deductible upto ₹1.5 lakh but returns are taxable. ELSS is one of the most preferred tax saving options as it offers higher market-linked returns that can sometimes be more than those of safer alternatives such as Provident Funds.
United Linked Insurance Plan (ULIPs): A ULIP is a unique combination of insurance and investment. You can buy a ULIP for yourself, your spouse, or your child, and save tax under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Investment, withdrawals, and maturity amount are all tax-free.
National Saving Certificate (NSC): It is a fixed income investment scheme that you can avail from any post office. The current rate of interest is 8% p.a. There is no maximum limit for investment, but Section 80C deduction is applicable only upto ₹1.5 lakh. Interest earned is also added back to the initial investment and qualifies for a tax deduction.
Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme: This is a scheme aimed at the welfare of the girl child. Parents can open an account in the name of a girl child upto the age of 10 years. The interest rate is 8.5%. Investment, withdrawals, as well as maturity amount, are tax-free.