Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Five Savings Schemes You Should Consider For Investments

Five Savings Schemes You Should Consider For Investments

Dear readers, you may be earning a lot but if you are not able to save enough, neither will you get money in times of need nor can you save on the taxes that you have to pay to the government. Thus, investing in the right savings schemes is of prime importance. The investment decision, however, is not that easy. One has to take care of several aspects like the returns it will generate, the lock-in period of investment, tax benefits and many more things.
Here are five key savings schemes and the benefits that they offer:

1. Employee Provident Fund

Employee Provident fund (EPF) is meant for salaried employees. EPF is a compulsory retirement savings scheme for public as well as private sector employees. The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) under the Ministry of Labour and Employment supervises this fund.
Interest rate:
The interest rate on EPF is decided by the EPFO board every year based on the weighted average return generated by the fund. For fiscal 2016-17, it paid an interest of 8.65 per cent.
Tax benefits:

The amount that you contribute towards your EPF will qualify for tax deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, subject to a maximum of Rs. 1.50 lakh. The interest you earn on your EPF savings every year and the final maturity amount is exempt from tax.

2. Public Provident Fund

Public Provident Fund (PPF) offers safety with attractive interest rates and returns that are fully exempted from tax. The minimum deposit in a PPF account in a financial year is Rs. 500 and the maximum is Rs. 1.5 lakh.
Interest Rate:
Since April last year, interest rate on PPF and other small savings scheme are being recalibrated every quarter. Investors in PPF currently get an interest rate of 7.8 per cent.
Tax benefits:
PPF enjoys EEE or exempt, exempt, exempt status - contribution, interest and maturity proceeds all are tax free.

3. Fixed Deposits

Fixed deposits (FD) are one of the most popular savings instrument available in the country. People still prefer to lock their investments in FDs due to their flexibility and liquidity. Fixed deposits, also known as term deposits, offer a fixed rate of interest for the entire tenure of their deposit.
Interest rate:
Rates of interest vary from bank to bank. For example, on a 1-year tenure of fixed deposit for less than Rs. 1 crore, State Bank of India (SBI), India's biggest lender, offers an interest rate of 6.25 per cent. But this is for usual FDs which do not give tax-saving benefits.
Tax benefits:
Interest income earned from bank fixed deposits is fully taxable, unlike savings bank account where one gets income tax exemption on interest earned up to Rs. 10,000 a year. In case of bank FDs, banks deduct tax at source (TDS) at the rate of 10 per cent if the interest income for the year is more than Rs. 10,000. TDS is calculated by checking the combined interest income of all branches of a particular bank.

Some banks also offer tax saving fixed deposits. The amount that you invest in these FDs qualifies for income tax exemption under section 80C. However, the interest that you earn from a tax-saving FD will be taxable.

4. National Pension Scheme

The National Pension System (NPS) was launched on 1st January, 2004 with the objective of providing retirement income to all the citizens. NPS aims to institute pension reforms and to inculcate a habit of saving for retirement amongst the citizens, states the NPS website.

"Considering that it provides greater choice over asset allocation, potential for return enhancement and the additional tax deduction of Rs. 50,000 over and above the Rs. 1.5 lakh that it offers, individual taxpayers, specifically the younger generation, should consider allocating more funds towards it," said Tarun Birani, Founder and CEO of TBNG Capital Advisors.
Interest rate:
In case of NPS, returns are market-linked. "In our view, the potential of returns in a market-related investment like NPS is higher than of a guaranteed return instrument like PPF/PF. This is due to two reasons, one is the choice of equity exposure in NPS and secondly the component of professional fund management," Manoj Nagpal, CEO of Outlook Asia Capital, told NDTV Profit.
Tax benefits:
An investment of up to Rs. 2 lakh (Rs. 1.5 lakh under section 80C and an additional Rs. 50,000 under section 80CCD) is eligible for tax deduction under NPS.

5. National Savings Certificates

This savings scheme is offered by the government of India, and is sold in all post offices. The amount invested in this scheme qualifies for tax deduction under section 80C.
Interest rate:
The rate of interest currently being offered on NSC is 7.8 per cent, according to India Post website. For example, the maturity value of a certificate of Rs. 100 purchased on or after 1.10.2016 shall be Rs. 146.93 after five years.
Tax benefits:
Deposits up to Rs. 1.50 lakh in NSC qualify for deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. There is no maximum investment limit in NSC and also TDS is not deducted on the interest amount. However, interests earned on NSC are taxable.

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