Section 80C, entitles an employee to deductions for the whole of amounts paid or deposited in the current financial year in the following schemes, subject to a limit of Rs. 1,00,000/-:
(1) Payment of insurance premium to effect or to keep in force an insurance on the life of the individual, the spouse or any child of the individual.
(2) Any payment made to effect or to keep in force a contract for a deferred annuity, not being an annuity plan as is referred to in item (7) herein below on the life of the individual, the spouse or any child of the individual, provided that such contract does not contain a provision for the exercise by the insured of an option to receive a cash payment in lieu of the payment of the annuity;
(3) Any sum deducted from the salary payable by, or, on behalf of the Government to any individual, being a sum deducted in accordance with the conditions of his service for the purpose of securing to him a deferred annuity or making provision for his spouse or children, in so far as the sum deducted does not exceed 1/5th of the salary;
(4) Any contribution made :
(a) by an individual to any Provident Fund to which the Provident Fund Act, 1925 applies;
(b) to any provident fund set up by the Central Government, and notified by it in this behalf in the Official Gazette, where such contribution is to an account standing in the name of an individual, or spouse or children;
[The Central Government has since notified Public Provident Fund vide Notification S.O. No. 1559(E), dated 3-11-2005]
(c) by an employee to a Recognized Provident Fund;
(d) by an employee to an approved superannuation fund;
It may be noted that “contribution” to any Fund shall not include any sums in repayment of loan;
(5) Any subscription :-
(a) to any such security of the Central Government or any such deposit scheme as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf;
(b) to any such saving certificates as defined under section 2(c) of the Government Saving Certificate Act, 1959 as the Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.
[Central Government has since notified National Saving Certificate (VIIIth Issue) vide Notification S.O. No. 1560(E), dated 3-11-2005 and National Saving Certificate (IXth Issue) vide Notification S.O. No. (E), dated 29-11-2011 F. No. l-13/2011-NS-II]
(6) Any sum paid as contribution in the case of an individual, for himself, spouse or any child,
a. for participation in the Unit Linked Insurance Plan, 1971 of the Unit Trust of India;
b. for participation in any unit-linked insurance plan of the LIC Mutual Fund referred to section 10 (23D) and as notified by the Central Government.
[The Central Government has since notified Unit Linked Insurance Plan (formerly known as Dhanraksha, 1989) of LIC Mutual Fund vide Notification S.O. No. 1561(E), dated 3-11-2005.]
(7) Any subscription made to effect or keep in force a contract for such annuity plan of the Life Insurance Corporation or any other insurer as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify;
[The Central Government has since notified New Jeevan Dhara, New Jeevan Dhara-I New Jeevan Akshay, New Jeevan, Akshay-I and New Jeevan Akshay-II vide Notification S.O. No. 1562(E), dated 3-11-2005 and Jeevan Akshay-III vide Notification S.O. No. 847(E), dated 1-6-2006]
(8) Any subscription made to any units of any Mutual Fund, of section 10(23D), or from the Administrator or the specified company referred to in Unit Trust of India (Transfer of Undertaking & Repeal) Act, 2002 under any plan formulated in accordance with any scheme as the Central Government, may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf;
[The Central Government has since notified the Equity Linked Saving Scheme, 2005 for this purpose vide Notification S.O. No. 1563(E), dated 3-11-2005]
The investments made after 1-4-2006 in plans formulated in accordance with Equity Linked Saving Scheme, 1992 or Equity Linked Saving Scheme, 1998 shall also qualify for deduction under section 80C.
(9) Any contribution made by an individual to any pension fund set up by any Mutual Fund referred to in section 10(23D), or, by the Administrator or the specified company referred to in Unit Trust of India (Transfer of Undertaking & Repeal) Act, 2002, as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf;
[The Central Government has since notified UTI-Retirement Benefit Pension Fund vide Notification S.O. No. 1564(E) dated 3-11-2005.]
(10) Any subscription made to any such deposit scheme of, or, any contribution made to any such pension fund set up by, the National Housing Bank, as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf;
(11) Any subscription made to any such deposit scheme, as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify for the purpose of being floated by (a) public sector companies engaged in providing long-term finance for construction or purchase of houses in India for residential purposes, or, (b) any authority constituted in India by, or, under any law, enacted either for the purpose of dealing with and satisfying the need for housing accommodation or for the purpose of planning, development or improvement of cities, towns and villages, or for both.
[The Central Government has since notified the Public Deposit Scheme of HUDCO vide Notification S.O. No. 37(E), dated 11-1-2007, for the purposes of Section 80C(2)(xvi)(a)].
(12) Any sums paid by an assessee for the purpose of purchase or construction of a residential house property, the income from which is chargeable to tax under the head “Income from house property” (or which would, if it has not been used for assessee’s own residence, have been chargeable to tax under that head) where such payments are made towards or by way of any instalment or part payment of the amount due under any self-financing or other scheme of any Development Authority, Housing Board etc.
The deduction will also be allowable in respect of re-payment of loans borrowed by an assessee from the Government, or any bank or Life Insurance Corporation, or National Housing Bank, or certain other categories of institutions engaged in the business of providing long term finance for construction or purchase of houses in India. Any repayment of loan borrowed from the employer will also be covered, if the employer happens to be a public company, or a public sector company, or a university established by law, or a college affiliated to such university, or a local authority, or a cooperative society, or an authority, or a board, or a corporation, or any other body established under a Central or State Act.
The stamp duty, registration fee and other expenses incurred for the purpose of transfer shall also be covered. Payment towards the cost of house property, however, will not include, admission fee or cost of share or initial deposit or the cost of any addition or alteration to, or, renovation or repair of the house property which is carried out after the issue of the completion certificate by competent authority, or after the occupation of the house by the assessee or after it has been let out. Payments towards any expenditure in respect of which the deduction is allowable under the provisions of section 24 of the Act will also not be included in payments towards the cost of purchase or construction of a house property.
Where the house property in respect of which deduction has been allowed under these provisions is transferred by the tax-payer at any time before the expiry of five years from the end of the financial year in which possession of such property is obtained by him or he receives back, by way of refund or otherwise, any sum specified in section 80C(2)(xviii), no deduction under these provisions shall be allowed in respect of such sums paid in such previous year in which the transfer is made and the aggregate amount of deductions of income so allowed in the earlier years shall be added to the total income of the assessee of such previous year and shall be liable to tax accordingly.
(13) Tuition fees, whether at the time of admission or thereafter, paid to any university, college, school or other educational institution situated in India, for the purpose of full-time education of any two children of the employee.
Full-time education includes any educational course offered by any university, college, school or other educational institution to a student who is enrolled full-time for the said course. It is also clarified that full-time education includes play-school activities, pre-nursery and nursery classes.
It is clarified that the amount allowable as tuition fees shall include any payment of fee to any university, college, school or other educational institution in India except the amount representing payment in the nature of development fees or donation or capitation fees or payment of similar nature.
(14) Subscription to equity shares or debentures forming part of any eligible issue of capital made by a public company, which is approved by the Board or by any public finance institution.
(15) Subscription to any units of any mutual fund referred to in clause (23D) of Section 10 and approved by the Board, if the amount of subscription to such units is subscribed only in eligible issue of capital of any company.
(16) Investment as a term deposit for a fixed period of not less than five years with a scheduled bank, which is in accordance with a scheme framed and notified by the Central Government, in the Official Gazette for these purposes.
[The Central Government has since notified the Bank Term Deposit Scheme, 2006 for this purpose vide Notification S.O. No. 1220(E) dated 28-7-2006]
(17) Subscription to such bonds issued by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, as the Central Government may, by such notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.
(18) Any investment in an account under the Senior Citizens Savings Scheme Rules, 2004.
(19) Any investment as five year time deposit in an account under the Post Office Time Deposit Rules, 1981.
Section 80C(3) & 80C(3A) states that in case of Insurance Policy other than contract for a deferred annuity the amount of any premium or other payment made is restricted to:
|Policy issued before 1st April 2012||20% of the actual capital sum assured|
|Policy issued on or after 1st April 2012||10% of the actual capital sum assured|
From 1-4-2013 actual capital sum assured in relation to a life insurance policy means the minimum amount assured under the policy on happening of the insured event at any time during the term of the policy, not taking into account –
i. the value of any premiums agreed to be returned, or
ii. any benefit by way of bonus or otherwise over and above the sum actually assured which may be received under the policy by any person.
Investment options to Save Tax under Section 80C
No one likes paying tax and it prompts everyone to look for options that may reduce their tax liability. There are many provisions to do this and one of the most common options is the tax deductions under Section 80 C of the Income Tax Act. There are various investing options under 80 C that enable you to reduce your taxable income up to a maximum limit of Rs 1 lakh.
The eligible deductions that everyone might be aware of are contributions to Employee Provident Fund, Payment of tuition fee or repayment on home loan. In addition there are investment avenues that are eligible for tax deduction about which you might have little knowledge.
Investing in Government Securities
For those who seek absolute protection of their capital, Investing in Postal Saving schemes such as NSC or putting money in PPF (Public provident fund) is an option.
Provident Fund (PF) & Voluntary Provident Fund (VPF: PF is automatically deducted from your salary. Both you and your employer contribute to it. While employer’s contribution is exempt from tax, your contribution (i.e., employee’s contribution) is counted towards section 80C investments. You also have the option to contribute additional amounts through voluntary contributions (VPF). Current rate of interest is 8.5% per annum (p.a.) and is tax-free.
Public Provident Fund (PPF)
PPF offers interest income in the range of 8% with annual compounding. However, the maximum amount that can be invested in PPF is Rs.70,000 and money cannot be withdrawn before the completion of 6 years. Those who look at PPF in terms of their retirement corpus and feel that their current PF deduction is not sufficient, may consider this option. Among all the assured returns small saving schemes, Public Provident Fund (PPF) is one of the best. Current rate of interest is 8% tax-free and the normal maturity period is 15 years. Minimum amount of contribution is Rs 500 and maximum is Rs 70,000. A point worth noting is that interest rate is assured but not fixed. Interest on PPF is proposed to increase to 8.60% and Investment Limit is also expected to increase to Rs. 1,00,000/- very soon.
National Savings Certificate
Another popular avenue investing – NSC also offers a return of 8% on half yearly compounding basis. Another feature is that interest accrued on NSC is also eligible for Section 80 C benefit. The interest on NSC investment, except in the sixth year, is not paid but credited to the investor’s account. So, the interest that accumulates is treated as invested in NSC and the accumulated interest thereby qualifies for tax deduction. The duration of NSC is for 6 years with an option of premature encashment after 3 years. However, that would reduce the net yield from NSC.
National Savings Certificate (NSC) is a 6-Yr small savings instrument eligible for section 80C tax benefit. Rate of interest is eight per cent compounded half-yearly, i.e., the effective annual rate of interest is 8.16%. If you invest Rs 1,000, it becomes Rs 1601 after six years. The interest accrued every year is liable to tax (i.e., to be included in your taxable income) but the interest is also deemed to be reinvested and thus eligible for section 80C deduction.
Tax saving FD’s
This is a relatively new kid on the block. Tax saver fixed deposits are issued by banks for a tenure of 5 years and premature withdrawal is not permissible. It generates interest income of 8% with quarterly compounding. The interest income is taxable. If we compare tax saving FD’s to NSC, Tax saving FD’s have an edge on lock in period which is lesser by one year. However NSC have an edge from the fact that interest accrued is also eligible for 80 C limit for the first five year.
Investment in Equity linked Saving Scheme(ELSS)
ELSS are funds invested primarily in equity shares of companies. They have been in limelight for their superior performance in the recent past and are a popular tax saving investment. Due to their tax saving nature, they are also known as tax saving mutual fund schemes. Like all investment avenues under Section 80C, ELSS funds also involve a certain lock in. In this case the lock in is for three years which means that they cannot be withdrawn for a period of three years from the date of investment. The ELSS Fund manager basically invest 80% of the total amount in the equity shares and the remaining 20% is invested in other instruments like bonds, debentures, government securities and others.
However the basic risk with ELSS scheme is that since it has a considerable equity exposure, the returns are linked to market returns and hence there is no guarantee of returns and even capital. At the same time, ELSS can also be seen as a way to long term investing in equity markets and with India growth story unfolding and fundamentals looking intact, investment experts anticipate that equities would continue to outperform other investing avenues for at least next 5-7 years. Investing in ELSS provides dual benefit of capitalizing on superior returns as well as tax saving. With the current market turmoil avoid this instrument unless you are looking for a long term investment. If that is the case look for good fund managers with stellar tax records.
There are some mutual fund (MF) schemes specially created for offering you tax savings, and these are called Equity Linked Savings Scheme, or ELSS. The investments that you make in ELSS are eligible for deduction under Sec 80C
Life Insurance and Tax savings
As far as life insurance is concerned, endowment plans (money back plans) have been a popular source of investing.There are various long term life insurance policies which give you good returns, tax savings under 80C and an insurance cover as well.
ULIP’s have taken a center stage now since they offer insurance as well as market related returns in a single product. However, investors should understand the underlying structure of ULIP carefully since these offerings have a substantial charge towards expense in the initial years and is advisable only for investors with a large investing horizon. Avoid ULIPs if you do not like to risk money. Also invest in ULIPs with a long term horizon of a minimum of 10 years.
Another avenue within insurance domain is Pension plans. Pension plans have got a boost in last finance bill with the overall limit raised from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 100,000. Senior Citizen Saving Scheme 2004 and Post Office Time Deposit Account have also been included in Section 80 C.
However some people may be biased towards other investing options as compared to Life Insurance products since they may prefer insurance and investments separately. Any amount that you pay towards life insurance premium for yourself, your spouse or your children can also be included in Section 80C deduction. Please note that life insurance premium paid by you for your parents (father / mother / both) or your in-laws is not eligible for deduction under section 80C. If you are paying premium for more than one insurance policy, all the premiums can be included. It is not necessary to have the insurance policy from Life InsuranceCorporation (LIC) – even insurance bought from private players can be considered here.
Infrastructure development Bonds
With a return in the range of 5-6% this is the last avenue a tax saver would resort to. The dismal returns provided by these bonds have resulted in the investors shying away from these bonds. The return is hardly good enough to fight inflation, leave alone wealth creation.
These are also popularly called Infra Bonds. These are issued byinfrastructure companies, and not the government. The amount that you invest in these bonds can also be included in Sec 80C deductions.
So investing in any of the above avenues would help you reduce your taxable income by a maximum of Rs 1 lakh, irrespective of how much you earn and under which tax bracket you fall.
Home Loan Principal Repayment: The Equated Monthly Installment (EMI) that you pay every month to repay your home loan consists of two components – Principal and Interest.The principal component of the EMI qualifies for deduction under Sec 80C. Even the interest component can save you significant income tax – but that would be under Section 24 of the Income Tax Act. Please read “Income Tax (IT) Benefits of a Home Loan / Housing Loan / Mortgage”, which presents a full analysis of how you can save income tax through a home loan.
Stamp Duty and Registration Charges for a home: The amount you pay as stamp duty when you buy a house, and the amount you pay for the registration of the documents of the house can be claimed as deduction under section 80C in the year of purchase of the house
5-Yr bank fixed deposits (FDs): Tax-saving fixed deposits (FDs) of scheduled banks with tenure of 5 years are also entitled for section 80C deduction.
Senior Citizen Savings Scheme 2004 (SCSS): A recent addition to section 80C list, Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS) is the most lucrative scheme among all the small savings schemes but is meant only for senior citizens. Current rate of interest is 9% per annum payable quarterly. Please note that the interest is payable quarterly instead of compounded quarterly. Thus, unclaimed interest on these deposits won’t earn any further interest. Interest income is chargeable to tax.
5-Yr post office time deposit (POTD) scheme: POTDs are similar to bank fixed deposits. Although available for varying time duration like one year, two year, three year and five year, only 5-Yr post-office time deposit (POTD) – which currently offers 7.5 per cent rate of interest –qualifies for tax saving under section 80C. Effective rate works out to be 7.71% per annum (p.a.) as the rate of interest is compounded quarterly but paid annually. The Interest is entirely taxable.
NABARD rural bonds: There are two types of Bonds issued by NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development): NABARD Rural Bonds and Bhavishya Nirman Bonds (BNB). Out of these two, only NABARD Rural Bonds qualify under section 80C.
Unit linked Insurance Plan : ULIP stands for Unit linked Saving Schemes. ULIPs cover Life insurance with benefits of equity investments.They have attracted the attention of investors and tax-savers not only because they help us save tax but they also perform well to give decent returns in the long-term.
Others: Apart form the major avenues listed above, there are some other things, like children’seducation expense (for which you need receipts), that can be claimed as deductions under Sec 80C.
So, where should you invest?
Like most other things in personal finance, the answer varies from person to person. But the following can be the broad principles:
Provident Fund: This is deducted compulsorily, and there is no running away from it! So, this has to be the first. Also, apart from saving tax now, it builds a long term, tax-free retirement corpus for you.
Home Loan Principal: If you are paying the EMI for a home loan, this one is automatic too! So, it comes as a close second.
Life Insurance Premiums: Every earning person having dependents should have adequate life insurance coverage. (For more on this, please read “Life after life – Why you should buy Life Insurance”) Therefore, life insurance premium payments are the next.
Voluntary Provident Fund (VPF) / Public Provident Fund (PPF): If you think that the PF being deducted from your salary is not enough, you should invest some more in VPF, or in PPF.
Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS): After the above, if you have not reached the limit of Rs. 1,00,000, then you should invest the remaining amount in Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS).
Equities provide the best, inflation-beating return in the long term, and should be a part of everyone’s portfolio. After all, what can be better than something that gives great return and helps save tax at the same time?