Under section 80C, you can invest a maximum of Rs 1.50 lakh (1 Lakh upto AY 2014-15) and if you are in the highest tax bracket of 30%, you save a tax of Rs 45000. The various investment options under section 80C include:
Public Provident Fund (PPF): Interest earned is fully exempt from tax without any limit. Annual contributions qualify for tax rebate under Section 80C of income tax. Contributions to PPF accounts of the spouse and children are also eligible for tax deduction. Balance in PPF account is not subject to attachment under any order or decree of court. But, Income Tax authorities can attach the account for recovering tax dues. The highest amount that can be deposited is 1,50,000. Tax bracket for PPF is EEE (i.e. Exempt,Exempt,Exempt). So contribution is exempted under 80C, Interest earned is tax exempted and withdrawal is also tax exempted.
One can withdraw the investment made in 1st year only in 7th year. However, loan against investment is available from 3rd financial year. If liquidity is not an issue, you should invest as much as you can in this scheme before looking for other fixed income investment options.
Life Insurance Premiums: 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 Insurance Corporation (LIC) – even insurance bought from private players can be considered here.
Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS): 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. Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS) of mutual funds are diversified equity funds that have a lock-in period of three years and provide tax benefit. Since a major portion of the corpus is invested in equities / equity stock markets , the earning potential is higher (though at a higher risk) as compared to other tax saving investments. Investors can invest up to 1,50,000 in an ELSS fund and deduct the investment from their taxable income under section 80C of Income Tax Act, thereby effectively reducing their tax liability. Long-term capital gains and dividends received on these investments are tax-free in the hands of the investor as per the current tax laws.
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).
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.
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.
National Savings Certificate (NSC): National Savings Certificates popularly known as NSC is a saving bond , primarily used for small saving and income tax saving investment in India, part of the Postal savings system of Indian Postal Service (India Post). These can be purchased from a post office by an adult in his own name or in the name of a minor, a minor, a trust, two adults jointly.These are issued for five and ten year maturity and can be pledged to banks for availing loans. 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.
Infrastructure Bonds: These are also popularly called Infra Bonds. These are issued by infrastructure companies, and not the government. The amount that you invest in these bonds can also be included in Sec 80C deductions.
Pension Funds – Section 80CCC: This section – Sec 80CCC – stipulates that an investment in pension funds is eligible for deduction from your income. Section 80CCC investment limit is clubbed with the limit of Section 80C – it means that the total deduction available for 80CCC and 80C is Rs. 1.50 Lakh.This also means that your investment in pension funds upto Rs. 1.50 Lakh can be claimed as deduction u/s 80CCC. However, as mentioned earlier, the total deduction u/s 80C and 80CCC can not exceed Rs. 1.50 Lakh.
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. An individual who has attained the age of 60 years or above on the date of opening of a/c or an individual who attained the age of 55 years or more and who has retired under VRS/SPL. VRS, can open an account individually or jointly with spouse. A retired personnel of Defence Services (excluding Civil Defence Employees) can subscribe to the scheme irrespective of the age limit subject to fulfilment of specificed conditions. Account can be closed after expiry of 5 years from the date of opening of account and account can be extended for next 3 years. Premature closure is permissible after one year subject to certain conditions. Deposits qualify for deduction u/s 80-C of Income Tax Act on the deposits made in new accounts opened on or after 8th December 2007.
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. Deposits in 5 year time deposit qualify for deduction under section 80-C of Income Tax Act on the deposits made in new accounts opened on or after 8th December 2007. The Interest is entirely taxable.
NABARD rural bonds: The Finance Act, 2007 inserted clause (xxii) in sub-section (2) of section 80C of the Income-tax Act to provide that deposits made in bonds issued by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf, shall be eligible for deduction under the said section. 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.
Tuition Fees :- Any sum paid as tuition fees to any university/college/educational institution in India for full time education. Nowadays most of income tax payee have to incur quite high payments towards the education fees of their children. The expenditure incurred on education fees is eligible for a deduction under Income Tax Act, So, if you are incurring expenditure towards education fee of your children, please check whether these are eligible for deduction under the IT Act.
Read our Earlier post for detailed Analysis of Section 80C
(Updated on 22.06.2018)