This article discusses about deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. It describes about various tax saving investments and expenses. It explains the feature and limitation of each deduction. It also suggests the path of financial planning through section 80C. It also touches the rationale before giving tax benefits under section 80C.
Rupees 46,350 is a good amount. The saving or Rs 46,350 gives you the happiness. Deductions under Section 80C of income tax act can give you such happiness. You can save tax up to Rs 46,350 every year because of the section 80C.
The section 80C directly reduces your taxable income. Because of the section 80C the tax liability comes down drastically. I think, you may be already enjoying the fruit of section 80C. Every year, many employees do not pay any tax because of the section 80C! Yes, Section 80C can wipe off your total tax liability! 🙂
If you are earning less than 4 lakh annually, you can continue without paying any tax. It is possible because of the section 80C, otherwise there should be a tax on the income of over the 2.5 lakh.
Benefit Of Section 80C
|Taxable Income||Tax Saving Up to|
|2,50,000 – 5,00,000||15,450|
The section 80 C of income tax act comprises several investments and expenses which are eligible for tax deduction. There is an upper limit on total tax deduction under section 80C. With every investment and expense under section 80C, there are some conditions as well.
The Limit of Tax Deduction Under Section 80C
The section 80C gives you tax benefit subject to an upper limit. The maximum amount eligible for tax deduction under section 80C is Rs 1.5 lakh. The limit of Rs 1.50 lakh is from Financial year 2014-15. Before FY 2014-15 the limit was Rs. 1 Lakh. This 1.5 lakh is for aggregate amount. It means if the total of all the investments is Rs 1.8 lakh, the tax deduction would be available only on 1.5 lakh.
Who is Eligible for Deduction
The tax deduction benefit under section 80C is available only to the individuals and ‘Hindu Undivided Family’.The firms, trusts, companies are association can’t enjoy the tax deduction under section 80C.
Income Not Eligible For Tax Deduction
The deduction under section 80C does not work with the capital gains. You can’t use section 80C to reduce your tax liability because of the capital gains. The 80C benefit is available on the income from service, profession and business. The income should come from the hard work not from the appreciation of capital value.
The Way To Save Tax Through Section 80C
To save tax under section 80C, you can choose any or all of the available options. There is fixed deposit, postal deposit, provident funds, pension schemes, mutual funds and insurance. You can invest in one or all of them. The investment should be within the financial year. You must keep the records and receipts of all the investment.
Some expenses such as tuition fees and home loan processing and property registration charges are also part of section 80C.
There are plenty of options to save for future and tax saving as well. You must assess them and choose the most suitable. However, I would also give you s framework to save tax under section 80C later in this article.
The Investments To Avail Tax Deduction Under Section 80C
The investment under section 80C can be classified into 4 groups.
1-Investment For Retirement
These are for the long term investment. You are required to pay regularly into these investments.
Employee Provident Fund
EPF is a saving scheme managed by the government of India. Every establishment which employs more than 20 people is required to be part of the provident fund organisation. The large establishments can operate their own PF trust. The EPF contribution by the employee is tax deductible under section 80C.
Features of EPF
- An employee who earns less than Rs 15,000 basic salary must contribute to the employee provident fund.
- PF contribution is voluntary for those who earns more than Rs 15,000 as basic salary.
- Once you become part of the EPF, you can’t leave it till you are in the job.
- Minimum 12% is deducted from the basic salary towards employee provident fund.
- The employer must contribute at least 12% of the basic salary of the employee.
- The employee can increase his provident fund contribution.
- The government fixes the interest rate of EPF every year.
Limitations Of EPF For Tax Deduction
- You should be in the continuous service for 5 years. If you withdraw EPF without completing the 5 years of continuous service, you are required to pay back the tax benefits of previous years. The EPFO deducts tax from your EPF amount.
- The EPF contribution of more than 12% by the employer is not tax exempt.
Public Provident Fund
It is also a provident fund saving scheme managed by the government of India. The PPF is primarily designed for the unorganized sector workers. However, anyone can open a PPF account.
Features of PPF
- Like EPF, the government fixes interest rate of PPF.
- The money is locked for 15 years in PPF.
- You can also take loan from the PPF account.
- You can open a PPF account in the name of your spouse and children.
- Investment in PPF account is eligible for tax deduction under section 80C.
Limitation of PPF
- You can invest in the PPF accounts of your spouse and children but the total investment can’t be more than Rs 1.5 lakh. If spouse is self dependent, she/he can invest separately 1.5 lakh in a PPF account.
- After 2005, an HUF can’t open a PPF account. The old HUFs can continue to avail the tax deduction.
- An investment of at least Rs 500/year mandatory for a PPF account.
There is a separate section 80ccc for the pension plans. But the investment in pension plans comes under the limit of 80C i. e. 1.5 lakh. It means that the total deduction available for 80CCC and 80C is Rs. 1.50 Lakh. These pension plans can be of insurance companies, mutual fund or government’s own national pension scheme.
Limitations Of Pension Plans
- The annuity payment of pension plan is not tax free. It means the pension payable at old age would be taxable.
- In the National Pension System money is locked till retirement.
Investment For Fixed Return
National Saving Certificate
National saving certificate is a postal saving scheme. It is a ‘fixed duration’ saving scheme.The investment in NSC comes under section 80C.
Features of NSC
- The national saving certificate is of 5 and 10 year term.
- The interest rate is fixed every year.
- Once you subscribe the NSC the interest rate gets fixed for the remaining period.
- You would know the maturity amount at the time of the investment
- There is not a maximum limit on the investment.
Limitations of NSC
The investment and maturity amount is tax free, but the interest is taxable.
Read More: National Saving Certificate
Tax Saving Fixed Deposit Account
These are the specified fixed deposit for tax saving. It is one of the easiest tax saving options. The tax saving fixed deposit is also eligible for tax deduction under section 80C. Similar to tax saving fixed deposit of banks, post office has the time deposit account. The terms and conditions are almost same.
Features of Tax Saving FD
- The scheduled banks can open tax saving fixed deposit account.
- The interest rate is comparable to similar tenure fixed deposit of the bank.
Limitations of Tax Saving FD
- Money gets locked for 5 years. You can’t break this FD.
- The interest is not exempt from tax. It is taxable in your hand.
Senior Citizen Saving Scheme
It is also a small saving scheme of the post office and scheduled banks. The Senior Citizen Scheme is designed for senior citizens. It gives a regular income in the form of interest.
Features of SCSS
- The scheme tenure is 5 years.
- The interest rate of the senior citizen saving scheme is higher than the time deposit and bank FD.
- It gives interest every 3 months.
Limitations Of SCSS
- One can participate in the senior citizen saving scheme after the age of 60. One, who has taken VRS can join it after the age of 55. There is no age bar for retired defense personnel.
- The interest earning of the senior citizen saving scheme is taxable.
- If you withdraw money before 5 years, the availed tax benefits become void. You are required to pay back tax benefit of previous years.
Investment For Wealth Building And Goal
Equity Linked Saving Scheme
It is the most flexible tax saving scheme. This tax saving option invests in the stock market. Because of the investment in the share market, this investment is risky. Even, you can face loss in the short term. However, In the long term, investment in the shares has given maximum return.
Features of ELSS
- The lock-in period is only for 3 years.
- The ELSS has the potential to give maximum return.
- It is far cheaper than ULIP.
- You can use the SIP method for the regular investment.
- The minimum investment can be as low as Rs 500.
- There is no upper limit for investment. But the tax deduction is subject to the upper limit of section 80C.
Limitations of ELSS
- ELSS is risky as it is dependent upon the whims of share market. You may also incur loss.
- In the SIP method of investment 3 year is calculated separately for every instalment.
Unit Linked Insurance Scheme
It is a saving cum insurance scheme. The scheme invests in shares and debt. A small portion of your investment also goes for the insurance. While ULIP introduces the general public to the equity market, It is laden with high charges. In spite of the investment in ELSS, pure term insurance would be a better option.
Rajeev Gandhi equity scheme is also a tax saving option under section 80C. The scheme was introduced to popularize the share investment. The first time share investor can take benefit of RGESS. However, due to many limitations the scheme could not pick up. There are many reasons to skip RGESS.
Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana Account
It is the recent saving scheme of government. The scheme is introduced to promote the girl child education. The scheme gives the best interest rate among all the government saving schemes.
- Sukanya Samriddhi Account can be opened in the designated branches of banks.
- The account should be opened in the name of girl child.
- The account should be opened before the girl attains 10 years of the age.
- A parent can open Sukanya Samriddhi account for 2 girl child.
- Minimum deposit amount in this account is ₹ 1,000/- and maximum is ₹ 1,50,000/- per year
- Money to be deposited for 14 years in this account.
Expense To Cover the Risk
I think this has been one of the most popular tax saving methods. However, people often led to take an endowment insurance plan. The endowment insurance plan saves more tax, but you remain under-insured. A 30 year young person can buy LIC e-term at about Rs 15,000 annually.
Pay insurance premium for yourself, spouse and children and save more tax. But please assess, whether your children really need an insurance cover.
Limitation of Insurance Plans
- The insurance plans has2 years lock-in. If you close an insurance plan before 2 years, you are required to payback the tax benefit because of the insurance plan.
- You can enjoy tax benefit on the insurance premium of spouse and children. It does not matter whether they are dependent or not. But the tax deduction is not available for the premium paid towards the insurance of parents.
Other Expenses Qualifying For Section 80C
Some expenses are also considered for the tax deduction under section 80C. You must keep the receipts of these expenses.
Home Loan Principal Repayment
You take home loan to buy a flat or build a house. You are required to pay back the home loan in equated monthly instalments (EMI). The home loan EMI has two parts, the principal and the interest. Between these two the principal part is eligible for tax deduction under section 80C.
Limitation on Home Loan Tax Deduction under Section 80C
The tax deduction is available only for the residential property.
You should take loan from the specified financial institutions or entities like your employer a public limited company, central government or state government or board or corporation.
Loan from the relatives is not eligible for section 80C deductions.
The tax deduction can be claimed only after the possession of the home, what if you are paying EMI during the construction.
You should not sell the home within 5 years of possession. If you sell, return all the claimed tax benefit.
Expense on Property Registration
The government did not give the chance to complain. Even the other expenses of home purchase is also tax deductible. The expense of registration, sale deed, stamp duty is also considered under section 80C.
There is also a consolation of high tuition fees. It is also eligible for tax deduction under section 80C.
- The tuition fees can be of yourself and your children.
- The tuition fees can be from nursery to higher education.
- You are required to keep the receipt.
- Only tuition fees is eligible for deduction. The development fees, capitation fees or any other fees is excluded.
- The tuition fees should be of full time education.
- The educational institution should be situated in India.
Why Government Gives Tax Benefit
The government wants to promote investment in certain instrument. To achieve this goal, it gives tax concession on some investments. The government also considers some expenses necessary for nation building, therefore It gives tax benefits to some expenses as well. The investments eligible for tax saving are mainly small saving schemes and social security schemes.
To Promote Social Security
As a nation Indian is concerned about the economic well being of the citizen. The employment, profession and business gives a regular income to healthier adults. But, In the old age, most of the people can’t earn. THe government is also concerned about these senior citizens.
Governments aim to make senior citizen financially independent. Therefore, it is emphasizing the long term investments and pension plans.
Provident funds are such a social security scheme which gives you a corpus after the retirement. To teach the importance of retirement saving,the government made it mandatory for low paid workers. Along with this government also incentivized it with tax deductions. Therefore EPF, GPF, VPF, PPF, NPS are put under section 80C.
To Promote Insurance
Similar to social security of old age the financial well being is also necessary of a family in absence of breadwinner. The insurance ensures the compensation of financial loss.
Hence, the government is promoting insurance in the society. Different type of life insurances are put under section 80C to achieve this goal.
To Reward Education Expense
The education benefits the country as a whole. Therefore, government working hard to promote education at all levels. The tax deduction for tuition fees under section 80C is to reward those who spends on the education.
To Arrange Capital For Infrastructure Projects
Government needs heavy amount of capital to build roads, railways, power lines and affordable housing. It wants that capital at cheaper rates. The tax concession to NSC, SCSS, PPF and infrastructure bonds also fulfills this objective. It also inculcates the habit of saving among the people.
How Should You Use Tax Deductions Under Section 80C
Deductions under section 80C of income tax give you opportunity of financial planning. It has the rainbow of investment which can make a suitable financial planning. It has the products of fixed return, high return, insurance and retirement planning. A middle class salaried person can use the section 80C to plan its whole finances. To use section 80C, you must go through these steps.
Take a Suitable Term Plan
Your first priority should be the protection of the family. The family should be properly covered for any untoward incident. Take the best term plan from the market and save tax under section 80C.
Assess the EPF saving
Most of the salaried employees save a part of their salary in EPF. However, for private sector employees the basic pay may be less. Hence, their contribution to EPF may be also less. They should assess whether EPF corpus would be enough for the retirement. If you find it insufficient, increase the contribution into the EPF.
Invest In PPF, Sukanya Samriddhi
There are some big expenses which may come before the retirement. The child’s education and marriage can be very heavy on your pocket. To save money for this purpose, you can use the PPF account. In the PPF account money is locked for 15 years and you can take loan as well.
The Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is a better option for girl child education and marriage.
Take A Home Loan If Required
If you want to own a house, you must own it through the home loan. The tax saving would be enormous. Both the principal and interest amount amount would save tax.
Invest In ELSS
Equity linked saving scheme is best tax saving investment for the long term. If you can take some calculated risk, The ELSS would be better than PPF. You will have a bigger corpus after 15 years. The ELSS should be preferred investment for wealth building and tax saving.
In this post, I have told you about the investments and expenses qualifying for the tax deductions under section 80C of income tax act. Now you can choose the suitable tax saving option among these. You can also move towards making a balanced financial plan.