India Infoline News Service | Mumbai | December 30, 2017 18:41 IST
Learn about ELSS investment & answer to all your questions like what is ELSS, how to invest in ELSS, tax benefits in ELSS at Indiainfoline
Equity Linked Savings Scheme or ELSS funds are a type of mutual funds whichbase their returns from the equity market. These funds are tax saving in nature and are eligible for a tax deduction of up to Rs1.50 lakhunder Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Below are a few things that an investor must know before investing in ELSS funds.
What is ELSS?
ELSS schemes are a category of mutual funds promoted by the government in order to encourage long term equity investments. Under this scheme, most of the fund corpus is invested in equities or equity-related products.
Types of ELSS:
There are two categories in ELSS mutual funds i.e. dividend and growth.
The dividend fund is further divided into Dividend Payout and Dividend Reinvestment. If an investor opts fordividend payout option, he receives the dividend which is also tax-free,however,underthe dividend reinvestment option, the dividend is reinvested as a fresh investment to purchase more shares.
Under the growth option, an investor can look for longterm wealth creation. It works like a cumulative option whose full value is realized on redemption of the fund.
How to invest in ELSS?
One can invest in ELSS via two methods i.e. lumpsum or SIP.
SIP or Systematic Investment Plan, is a process where an investor needs to invest a fixed amount of money every month at a specified date. SIP inculcates a disciplined approach towards investing in an investor. SIP also gives the benefit of rupee cost averaging to an investor.
What is the lock-in period in ELSS?
ELSS funds have a lock-in period of three years. Whencompared to EPF, PPF, NSC and other prevalentinvestments under Section 80C, ELSS has the shortest lock-in period.
What is the benefit of tax in ELSS?
The primary purpose of any investment is to gain deductions under income tax for wealth creation. ELSS funds fit that bill perfectly. An investor gets a doubleedged benefit of tax saving and wealth creation at the same time. Dividends earned from ELSS funds are also exempted from tax. ELSS funds also provide the benefit of long term capital gains as they have a lock-in period of three years.
What is the investment limit of ELSS funds?
One can start investing in ELSS mutual funds with a minimum amount of Rs500, and there is no upper limit on how much a person can invest in ELSS funds. However, the tax saving ceiling is only up to a maximum of Rs1,50,000 a year.
What are the risks involved in ELSS funds?
ELSS mutual funds do not have ironclad guarantee over returns, as theygenerate their earnings from investments in the equity market. Nevertheless, some of the best performing ELSS mutual funds have given consistent and inflationbeating returns in the longrun. This quality is not possessed by the other fixed income tax saving investments like PPF andFD.
ELSS mutual fund investment has now become a popular tax saving investment under Section 80C, and it is also ideal for retirement planning and wealth creation coupled with the benefits of lower lock-in period, SIP method of investment, rupee cost averaging risk and no tax on dividends or the benefit of capital gains. ELSS funds should be taken into account by every investor while planning their investment goals.
Disclaimer: The contents herein is specifically prepared by ‘Dalal Street Investment Journal’, and is for your information & personal consumption only. India Infoline Limited or Dalal Street Investment Journal do not guarantee the accuracy, correctness, completeness or reliability of information contained herein and shall not be held responsible.
Everyone wants to be financially secure and well off by the age of 35-40. However, when we are in our 20’s, we tend to live life in the moment and forget saving for the future.
By: Sanjeev Sinha | Updated: November 27, 2017 2:25 PM | Financial Express
All of us have various financial goals in life. Everyone wants to be financially secure and well off by the age of 35-40. However, when we are in our 20’s, we tend to live life in the moment and forget saving for the future. This is not the right approach towards creating wealth. Therefore, to ensure that you are financially secure and on the right track with your money, here are 5 important investments that you must make before you hit your 30-year milestone:
1. Investment towards tax saving
Considering that you are working and earning, it is important for you to assess your tax liability and take advantage of tax deductions available under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. “By proper tax planning, you can not only reduce your tax liability but also save some more to invest towards your other goals. One of the best tax-saving instruments is Equity-Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS). It is a type of open-ended equity mutual fund wherein an investor can avail a deduction u/s 80C up to Rs 1.50 lakh for a financial year,” says Amar Pandit, CFA and Founder & Chief Happiness Officer at HapynessFactory.in.
2. Investment towards emergency corpus
There are various events like accidents, illnesses and other unforeseen events that we may encounter in our lives. These events should never occur, but if they do, one needs to be adequately prepared for the same. In critical cases, such events may hamper one’s ability to work and may even lead to a loss in earnings for a few months or years. Hence, “it is advisable to build a contingency corpus, which is equivalent to at least 5-6 months of living expenses. Further, your emergency fund should be safe and easily accessible (liquid in nature) at short notice, in case of an emergency. Hence, savings bank accounts and liquid mutual funds are two options for setting aside the emergency corpus. However, considering that liquid and ultra-short term mutual funds are more tax efficient in nature, it is advisable to park a major portion of your corpus in the same,” says Pandit.
3. Investment towards long-term goals
It is very important to save and invest towards your long-term goals such as marriage, buying a house, starting your own venture, retirement, and so on. You must start with determining how much each goal will need and the savings required to achieve the goal. Once the corpus is fixed, you can invest towards the goal regularly. As an investment strategy, start fixed monthly investments – SIPs (Systematic Investment Plan) in mutual funds. Always remember, the earlier you start investing towards your goals, the longer time your investments will have to grow and the more you will benefit from the power of compounding. Equity mutual funds which are growth oriented are a preferable investment option for long-term goals.
4. Investment towards short-term goals
There are many short-term goals that are recurring in nature, such annual vacation, buying a car or any asset in the near term and so on. For such goals, you are advised to park your funds in liquid or arbitrage mutual funds rather than a savings account. “Mutual funds are more tax efficient than savings accounts and also there are different funds for different time horizons. For example, for goals to be achieved within a year, you can opt for liquid or ultra-short term funds whereas for goals to be achieved post one year, you can opt for arbitrage funds,” advises Pandit.
5. Investment towards health and life cover
Life and health insurance typically are not supposed to be considered as investments. However, both are very important and must be considered as one of the priority money move to be made before turning 30. If you are earning and have a family dependent on you, you must assess and buy the right life insurance term cover for yourself. Further, with costs of health care and medical on the rise, any untoward illness without sufficient cover will have you dip into capital which is unnecessary. Hence, there cannot be any compromise on health insurance. Thankfully, there are various health covers available in the market today. You should opt for the right cover for yourself, depending on your needs and post considering all the options.
The primary objectives of ELSS investments are long-term capital growth and tax saving.
Navneet Dubey | Nov 10, 2017 09:47 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com
Most investors who invest in equity-linked savings scheme (ELSS) do so to save taxes under Section 80C of Income Tax Act. However, they tend to forget that the ELSS schemes can also help them to achieve their financial goal if they remain invested for a long time.
“The primary objective of ELSS investment is long-term capital growth and tax saving. Superior long-term growth is facilitated by the power of compounding. Power of compounding works best over a long investment horizon when gains are reinvested every time they accrue,” said Rahul Parikh, CEO, Bajaj Capital.
The schemes under ELSS category also gives you high inflation-beating returns, similar to PPF they also provide you EEE (exempt-exempt-exempt) benefit.
However, make sure you don’t commit the usual mistakes while investing in ELSS. Here are some of the common mistakes investors make while investing in these schemes:
Trying to time the market: Do not try to time the market when you are investing. Unless you have seasoned investors with a phenomenal understanding of the market, the chances are that you might not be able to identify the precise time to invest.
Ajit Narasimhan, Head – Savings and Investments, BankBazaar said that there is a high amount of uncertainty which makes it next to impossible to correctly predict events or their impact on the market and hence to time the market. Instead, focus on identifying a few good funds. Once you invest, have the patience to ride through the rough and tumble of the stock markets. “Equity investments grow by staying systematically invested for the long run. This is what makes SIP a good option as it averages the cost of investment over time and cancels out the effect of price fluctuation in the market,” he said
Not understanding the fund category: It very important to understand that most of the AMC’s design their ELSS tax saving mutual fund scheme on the basis of large cap, mid cap/small cap and accordingly their risk and returns vary. Here it is vital to first know your risk taking capacity that whether you will be able to risk or not. Take help from your financial adviser to know all holdings mentioned in your scheme and then choose the fund accordingly.
Investing at the last minute: Investment should be a planned activity and not at the spur of the moment.
Narasimhan points out for investments to be successful and provide the required returns, investors should have a financial goal in mind and a plan to work towards it. Leaving it to the last minute can lead to insufficient time to set your goals or create a viable investment plan. “Lack of time may imply that you may have to cut down your research and depend on someone else’s research and opinion to base your investment. This can be very dangerous as the goals, requirements, and risk appetite may not match. It may also cause the investor to invest in one go instead of small regular SIPs. This is an important factor as SIPs provide price averaging and take away the need to time markets,” he said.
Redeeming soon after the lock-in period ends: Minimum investment time period in equities should ideally be for 5-7 years and when you take a decision of redeeming your units before time as mentioned thereon, you may not gain much from it. The longer you remain invested, the more you gain from compounding effect and rupee cost averaging principle. You should always link your investment with a long time horizon financial goal.
Investing in too many funds: ELSS funds have a lock-in of 3 years, If you are investing in too many funds of the same category then it may become difficult for you to review your portfolio since you cannot exit before 3 years. Moreover, too much of diversification may also not help you in proper asset class analysis.
Choosing the dividend option: You should opt for growth option while investing in ELSS mutual fund schemes because if you opt for the dividend, you can lose on gaining from compounding effect. Parikh also said that investing in a growth option ensures that gains are reinvested and grow at the same rate as the principal investment. “However, in dividend payout option, the gains are not reinvested but are paid out and hence not available for compounding, resulting in lower long-term returns. When investing for long-term capital growth in any of the equity mutual fund, one should opt for the growth option,” Parikh said.
Suresh KP | Feb 15, 2017, 05.48 PM | Source: Moneycontrol.com
Investing in tax saving ELSS mutual funds would help you to save tax u/s 80C as well as giving superior returns.
Many of the tax payers are looking for various options to save income tax u/s 80C. While there are several options to save tax, one of the attractive ways is to invest in tax saving funds, technically known as ELSS.
What are tax saving funds?
Equity Linked Saving Scheme (ELSS) or tax saving funds provide tax exemption u/s 80C along with higher returns compared to any other tax saving option. Investments in ELSS upto Rs 1.5 lakh bring in tax deduction under section 80C.
Compared to other tax saving schemes like Tax saving FD, PPF, NSC etc, ELSS offers higher returns. However, a point to note is that these returns are not guaranteed. These ELSS have low lock in period of 3 years. Other instruments have lockin period ranging between 5 years to 15 years.
After taking into account these benefits lets look at five ELSS that can be considered as good investment options to save tax and create wealth.
1) Reliance Tax Saver Fund
This MF scheme objective is to generate long term capital appreciation from a list of stock portfolio and invests predominantly in equity and equity related instruments in India. This scheme has provided 20.3% annualized returns in last 5 years. Even in last 3 years, this scheme provided 30% annualized returns. This scheme is ranked by Crisil as Rank-3 (1 is vergy good performer and 5 is weak performer)
2) Axis Long Term Equity Fund
This tax saving scheme aims to generate regular long term capital growth from a diversified portfolio of equity and equity related securities in India. This mutual fund scheme is the top performer in the ELSS funds over five years time frame. This scheme has provided 21% annualized returns in last 5 years. Even in last 3 years, this scheme provided high returns of 24.9% annualized returns. This scheme is ranked by Crisil as Rank-4 (1 is vergy good performer and 5 is weak performer)
3) DSP BR Tax Saver Fund
The mutual fund scheme aims to generate medium to long-term capital appreciation from a diversified stock portfolio of equity and equity related securities along with tax savings. This mutual fund scheme is the top performer in the ELSS funds.This scheme has provided 20.4% annualized returns in last 5 years. Even in last 3 years, this scheme provided good returns of 26.6% annualized returns. This scheme is ranked by Crisil as Rank-1 (1 is vergy good performer and 5 is weak performer)
4) Birla SL Tax Relief 96 Fund
This mutual fund scheme aims for long term capital appreciation by investing upto 80% in equity and balance in debt related instruments. This scheme has provided 19.1% annualized returns in last 5 years. Even in last 3 years, this scheme provided good returns of 25.6% annualized returns. This scheme is ranked by Crisil as Rank-2 (1 is vergy good performer and 5 is weak performer).
5) Franklin India Tax Shield Fund
The MF scheme aims medium to long term growth of capital along with income tax rebate. This scheme has provided 17.5% annualized returns in last 5 years. Even in last 3 years, this scheme provided good returns of 24.3% annualized returns. This scheme is ranked by Crisil as Rank-3 (1 is vergy good performer and 5 is weak performer).
Smart investors would invest in a good ELSS mutual funds which helps them to save tax and also provides high returns compared to any other tax saving options.
The author of this article is founder of Myinvestmentideas.com.
NALINAKANTHI V | January 28, 2017 | Hindu BusinessLine
The fund has contained market downsides well while making the most of rallies
As we enter the final quarter of the current fiscal, tax saver funds are now in focus. If you haven’t made your tax saver investment yet, you could use the next two months to invest in tax saver mutual fund schemes.
If you are looking for a fund with a consistent track record, old warhorse Franklin India Taxshield is an option to consider. Of course, equity tax saver schemes are only for those with a moderately high risk appetite and investment horizon of at least three years, since you cannot redeem your investment before that. Even though the lock-in period is three years, this fund will better suit investors with a minimum time frame of five years. Lumpsum investment may be a better option, given the lock-in period.
Launched in 1999, Franklin India Taxshield is among the most consistent performers in the equity linked saving schemes (ELSS) category. Over the last five years, the scheme’s daily one-year return has been higher than its benchmark, the Nifty 500 Index, almost 90 per cent of the time. It scores well on a risk-adjusted performance basis too, with a Sharpe ratio of 0.93. While this is a tad lower than that of peers such as Axis Long Term Equity (1.05) and Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96 (0.97), it is higher than the average of funds in the category of 0.8.
While the fund has delivered benchmark-beating returns across three, five and ten-year time frame, its performance over a one-year period slipped due to the correction in banking and pharma stocks during September-October 2016. The fund has marginally reduced exposure to these two themes.
Strategies that worked
The fund has been able to contain downsides well during market falls and this has been on three counts.
One, higher large-cap slant compared to other funds in this category cushioned it during turbulent phases.
Second, the fund’s focus on quality stocks and strategy to stay away from momentum stocks also possibly aided performance during down cycles. Moving into defensive themes such as pharma and IT also shielded the fund from volatility.
Likewise, during recovery rallies too, the fund has managed to beat the benchmark by a considerable margin. Right sector shifts aided performance during the pull-back rallies.
Consider this — during the August 2013-March 2015 period, the fund gained nearly 110 per cent. This is higher than the 80 per cent gain for the benchmark during the same period.
Increasing exposure to cyclical themes such as financials, automobiles and industrials provided a leg-up to the fund’s performance.
The fund has managed good returns despite a relatively high expense ratio of 2.48 per cent. Peer funds such as Axis Long Term Equity (1.98 per cent), ICICI Prudential Long Term Equity (2.3 per cent) and Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96 (2.29 per cent) have had a lower expense ratio.
Over a nine-month period, the fund has increased exposure to cyclicals such as financials, oil and gas, power and auto.
Stability in the economy post remonetisation and recovery thereafter should aid the fund’s performance. It has also reduced exposure to pharma stocks, which have been bogged down by regulatory woes.
Jignesh Shah – Capital Advisors | Jun 28, 2016, 09.36 AM | Source: Moneycontrol.com
How the PPF and ELSS score on various parameters. Here is how you can take an informed decision.
Recently one of my clients asked me – with 2.5% loss in Sensex over last one year, why not avoid tax saving mutual funds and instead go for investment in public provident fund? He has a point when we look at negative returns by stocks. But just one bad year, does not make tax saving funds a bad investment choice. There is much more one should ponder over before taking a decision.
Public provident fund (PPF) and tax saving funds (ELSS) are different products – former is fixed income instrument and the latter is an investment in stocks. ELSS can be a volatile journey and may not suit risk averse investors. However, it comes with the combination of two big advantages – lock in of just three years and a possibility of returns in excess of inflation.
PPF offers tax free assured returns in long term. But the returns may not remain attractive. The interest rate may drop below 8% given the falling interest rate regime we are into.
While some investors may want to include both these options in their portfolio, it makes sense to delve deeper into each one of them before you invest.
PPF – It is a scheme issued by the Government of India under the PPF Act of 1968. It is a fixed income security scheme that enables one to invest a minimum amount of Rs.500 and a maximum of Rs.150,000 per annum. PPF account matures after 15 years. So, the lock-in period for PPF investment reduces every year. Compared to this, with ELSS, every investment is subject to a fresh lock-in of three years.
Returns are not fixed. Interest rate for the year is notified by Ministry of Finance, Government of India. Interest rate for FY2016 is 8.7% p.a. and 8.1% for qtr ended Jun 2016, which is excellent for a debt product.
Individuals who are residents of India can ONLY open an account under the scheme. Only one PPF account can be maintained by an Individual, except an account that is opened on behalf of a minor. Thus, PPF account can also be opened by either parent under the name of a minor. However, each person is eligible for only one account under his/her name. Mother and father both cannot open Public Provident Fund (PPF) accounts on behalf of the same minor. Thus, in case a couple has two children, they can maximum open four accounts i.e. two in their own accounts and two in the name of their children under guardianship of either of the parent. Also, non-resident Indians (NRIs) are NOT eligible to open an account. However a resident who becomes an NRI during the tenure prescribed under Public Provident Fund Scheme, may continue to subscribe to the fund until its maturity on a non-repatriation basis. However, such an account will not be eligible for extension of five years at the time of maturity, if at the time of maturity, an account holder is an NRI. Since 13th May, 2005, Hindu Undivided Family can NOT open an account under the scheme. However, accounts opened prior to that date may continue subscription to their account till maturity. They also can not extend the account any further, after this date.
One can have guaranteed and tax free returns by investing in a PPF account. Currently, deposits under PPF earn interest of 8.10% per annum. PPF investments are tax deductible, along with the fact, that the returns are completely, tax free. The lock in period of the PPF scheme is as long as fifteen years and can be extended in block of five years after maturity. Partial withdrawals can be made on the commencement of the seventh year.
Since, the return in PPF is guaranteed and is backed by the government, there is low risk associated with repayment. However, any investor who parks too much money in fixed-income assets can face other types of risk such as inflation risk. A high rate of inflation would erode the value of your savings. There is an issue of liquidity too – should the investor need the money for some emergency it would be difficult since the PPF has a lock-in period of 15 years
Other Features –
1. Premature withdrawal of funds – PPFs give a hard time when it comes to withdrawing investments before the maturity of 15 years is done. Partial withdrawals are permitted from the seventh year.
2. Loans – Having lock-in periods of 15 years and being stable financial instruments, from the third year, PPFs can easily be used as collaterals for availing loans for vehicles, housing and other secured loans.
3. Investment Security – Provided by the Government of India, PPFs offer rates that rarely change in a major way and are one of the safest possible investments one can make in India.
After initial maturity of 15 years, you can extend your PPF account in block of 5 years.
PPF falls in Exempt-Exempt-Exempt (EEE) category. Interest earned and the maturity amount is exempt from income tax.
Now, let us look at ELSS –
Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS), is an instrument of savings and investment managed by many mutual funds. It is a diversified equity mutual fund. A minimum investment of Rs.500 is required and it has no cap on the maximum investment. It has a mandatory lock-in period of 3 years, after which all the investment and the returns can be withdrawn. These investments offer tax free returns as long term capital gains on equity funds are tax free. dividend on equity based mutual fund is exempt from dividend distribution tax as well. Being equity market linked investments, these have a higher risk, but also present a better case of gaining more returns than any other savings scheme that relies on fixed income instruments.
Other Features –
1. Premature withdrawal of funds – Premature withdrawal of funds from ELSS investments is not allowed – not until the lock-in period of 3 years is over.
2. Loans – Equity Linked Savings Scheme investments are market dependent instruments and can only be used as collaterals for availing loans for vehicles, housing and other secured loans after the lock-in periods are over. Better rates can be availed on loans, if investments are pledged with banks that offer the particular ELSS schemes
3. Comparison of risk and returns –
Should you invest in PPF or ELSS?
Your investment choice should be guided by your investment objectives and your risk tolerance level and liquidity requirements. Investors with high risk tolerance should invest in ELSS, while investors with low risk tolerance should invest in PPF. Over a long time frame, wealth creation potential is much higher with ELSS. Young investors should opt for ELSS, since they usually have high risk tolerance and a sufficiently long time horizon to ride out the volatilities associated with equity investments. As you approach retirement, your risk tolerance goes down and PPF is a better investment option in such a situation. Investors with moderate risk tolerance level can invest in both PPF and ELSS in accordance with their optimal asset allocation strategy.
Salaried individuals are mandatorily required to contribute a portion of their salary to employee provident fund (EPF). The EPF interest rate is similar to the PPF interest rate and the maturity amount is tax free. The EPF contribution of the employee as well as PPF and ELSS investments goes towards the section 80C tax savings. If you are not a salaried individual and looking for some safe fixed income saving option, PPF can be considered.
Returns –ELSS is expected to offer better returns than PPF in long term. Currently, average 5 year compounded return for ELSS schemes is 13.31% pa and average 10 year compounded return for ELSS schemes is 12.86% pa. This is far better than PPF rate of return of more than 8%.
Risks – Over longer term, volatility (price risk) reduces significantly, in equity instruments. There is little risk of capital in PPF, as it is backed by Central Government of India.
When investing, investors must also consider shortfall risk. This is the risk that an investment’s actual return will not be sufficient to generate the money needed to meet one’s investment goals. That is why equity is so crucial in an investor’s portfolio because good equity investments over the long term do provide returns which outpace inflation. According to inflation.eu, the average CPI in India over the past 10 years has fluctuated in wide range of 5.7% (2016) to 12.11% (2010).
If investors invested all their money in fixed return investments like PPF, there is a very high probability that they would not save sufficiently for retirement, unless they were earning obscene amounts of money.
Also, the return in PPF has declined over the years. From 12% at the turn of the century, it dropped down to 11%, then 9.5%, 9% and finally 8%+ where is languished for many years. Between FY12 and FY15 the rate hovered between 8.6% and 8.7%. If you take the average inflation by year, the CPI from 2008 to 2013 has fluctuated between 8.32% and 12.11%. All in all, the PPF has not done an excellent job in consistently beating inflation over the last few years. You need some equity to create wealth.
To sum up, if you are willing to take up some risk go with an ELSS, otherwise it is the good old PPF makes a better bet.
Source : http://goo.gl/30NIYP
By Sanjiv Singhal | Jun 20, 2016, 07.00 AM IST | Economic Times
Interact with a lot of young earners on a daily basis. These are men and women in the first 5-6 years of their working lives, with dreams and hopes that require money to achieve. Some of them are already saving, while others are not, but all are full of questions and want to know how to do it better. It doesn’t matter what job they have and how much they earn; there are mistakes that run through all their stories. Here are some of the most common ones:
“I bought a life insurance policy to save tax.”
The good thing about this confession is that the person understands he made a mistake. For most, it starts at the end of the year when they needed to submit their investment proof to the HR. They scramble around to figure out how and blindly buy an insurance policy (after all, insurance is a good thing to have, no?). Almost every other tax-saving option is better than life insurance. Tax-saving (ELSS) funds are the best option for young earners.
“I wasn’t sure where to invest, so I didn’t.”
When you don’t set aside money regularly, it sits in your bank account and often gets spent. This hurts in two ways. One, it doesn’t create wealth for you, which investing early does. Second, it forms unsustainable spending habits. Start by setting aside 5-10% of your salary every month in a debt fund or in a recurring deposit if you don’t know enough about mutual funds.
“I bought stocks to double my money because my friend did.”
This is a mistake often made due to lack of understanding about how stock investment works and a false sense of knowledge. Greed and stories of exceptional returns also spur one on. The best way to resist this is to check with friends and colleagues about how many actually earned such fantastic returns and how many lost money. Stock investing requires deep knowledge and time. As a young professional, you are better off committing this time to your job.
“I change jobs every year to increase my salary.”
This is not an investing mistake, but one of not investing in yourself. Sticking with a job gives you the opportunity to develop your skills in a specific area. It also gives you the time to learn softer skills – of working with people and managing them. This leads to better career prospects and more wealth.
“I forgot about my education loan.”
A lot of young earners are starting their financial lives with an education loan taken for an MBA or MTech. As they mostly work away from home, they may not get the communication from the bank, or choose to ignore it. The interest mounts up and they are left with a bigger repayment amount. Focus on education loan repayment in a disciplined manner. When you are done with the with the repayment, direct this amount to long-term investments. Avoiding these common mistakes is easy once you know about them. Spending time learning about the principles of money and investing is a good investment to begin with.
(The author is Founder & Head, Product Strategy at Scripbox)
By Babar Zaidi, ET Bureau | Mar 14, 2016, 10.30 IST | Economic Times
The 31 March deadline is barely two weeks away, but many taxpayers are yet to sew up their tax planning for the year. Either they were unfamiliar with the tax rules, confused by the array of options or just plain lazy. Whatever be the reason, they are now sitting ducks for unscrupulous distributors and financial advisers who capitalise on the approaching deadline and palm off high-cost investments to unsuspecting investors.
This week’s cover story is aimed at taxpayers who still have to invest under Section 80C. As a first step, calculate how much more you need to invest. Many taxpayers don’t know that tuition fees of up to two children is eligible for deduction under Section 80C. For many parents with schoolgoing children, this takes care of a large portion of their tax-saving investment limit.
Also, the principal portion of the home loan EMI and the stamp duty and the registration charges paid for a house bought during the year are all eligible for the deduction. If they include the contribution to the Provident Fund and premiums of existing insurance policies, they might discover that their tax planning is nearly taken care of. Use the table provided to calculate how much more you need to invest this year.
Put small amount in ELSS
Your approach now should be different from what we advised earlier this year. In January, we had listed ELSS funds as the best tax-saving instrument. They are low on charges, fairly transparent, offer high liquidity, the returns are tax-free and they have the potential to create wealth. Also, you are under no compulsion to make subsequent investments. Investing in ELSS funds is easy because you can apply online. Many fund houses even pick up KYC documents from your residence. You can also get your KYC done online.
However, at the same time, studies have shown that a staggered approach works best when investing in equity funds. It’s too late to take the SIP route in March and investing a large sum at one go can be risky. Investors who took the SIP route in top ELSS funds in 2014-15, have made money, but those who waited and invested lump sum in March 2015 are saddled with losses.
Unfortunately, not many investors understand the simple logic behind SIPs. Barely 15% of the total inflows into the ELSS category comes through monthly SIPs and nearly 25% of the total inflows are invested as lump sum in March. We suggest that you avoid putting a large sum at one go in ELSS funds and put only a small amount at this stage. It’s best to start an SIP after April in a scheme with a good track record.
PPF and FDs are safe bets
Unlike the ELSS funds, you can invest blindly in the PPF. If you already have a PPF account, just put the remaining portion of your Section 80C limit in it and be done with it. Opening a new account at this stage may not be feasible if you have to submit the proof of investment this week. Even if you manage to open an account, you will be cutting it too fine. If your investment cheque is not encashed by 31 March due to any reason, you may be denied the deduction for this year. Some banks like ICICI Bank allow online investments in the PPF, which is a better option than the offline route.
If you don’t have a PPF account, go for tax-saving fixed deposits or NSCs. They did not score very high rank in our ranking of tax saving instruments in January because the interest is fully taxable, which brings down the effective post-tax returns in the 30% tax bracket to less than 6%. However, with just two weeks left to go, they could be good options to save tax in a hurry. Sure, you will earn low returns, but there are no hidden charges or any compulsion to invest in subsequent years.
They will push you to buy insurance policies that can become millstones around your neck. Don’t sign up for insurance policies in a hurry. To make things easier for the buyer, the agent even does the paperwork. All the buyer has to do is sign the application form and write a cheque. But any investment that requires a multi-year commitment must be assessed in detail, so don’t let the agent force you into a decision.
In our January ranking, life insurance policies were at the bottom of the heap. Experts say it is not a good idea to mix insurance with investment. Buy a term plan for insuring yourself and invest in other more lucrative options than a traditional insurance policy that offers 6-7% returns. A costly insurance policy prevents you from investing for other goals. If you are paying a very high premium, it is advisable to turn the policy into a paid up plan. The insurance cover will continue but you can stop paying the premium.
Pension plans from insurance companies also rank very low. Even though 33% of the corpus was tax free on maturity, the low-cost New Pension System (NPS) was seen as a better alternative. Last year, the government announced an additional deduction of Rs 50,000 for investments in the NPS. This year’s Budget has made the scheme more attractive by making 40% of the corpus tax free on maturity.
Till a few months ago, opening an NPS account was considered an uphill task. You had to run around for weeks, even months, before the account became operative. This has now changed. Turn to Page 6 to know how you can take the online route to open an NPS account in just 25-30 minutes.
No proof? No problem
Salaried taxpayers are expected to submit proof of investment to their employers by mid-March. That window is nearly closed now. If you have not submitted the proof of your tax saving investments, TDS will be deducted from your March salary. But don’t let that stop you from investing now. If you are able to invest by 31 March, you can claim a refund of the excess tax deducted from your salary. However, you will get that money back only when you file your tax return in July.
Source : http://goo.gl/gZZqCR
Babar Zaidi | TNN | Jan 11, 2016, 08.57 AM IST | Times of India
Do-it-yourself tax planning can be rewarding and challenging. Rewarding, because you can choose the tax-saving instrument that best suits your needs. Challenging, because if you make the wrong choice, you are stuck with an unsuitable investment for at least 3-5 years. This is where our annual ranking of best tax-saving options can prove helpful. It assesses all the investment options on seven key parameters—returns, safety, flexibility, liquidity, costs, transparency and taxability of income. Each parameter is given equal weightage and a composite score is worked out for the various tax-saving options.
While the ranking is based on a robust methodology, your choice should also take into account your requirements and financial goals. We consider the pros and cons of each option and tell you which instrument is best suited for taxpayers in different situations and lifestages. We hope it will help you make an informed choice. Happy investing!
ELSS funds top our ranking because of their tremendous potential, high liquidity and transparency. The ELSS category has given average returns of 17.8% in the past 3 years. The 3-year lock-in period is the shortest for any Section 80C option.
If you have already fulfilled KYC requirements, you can invest online. Even if you are a new investor, fund houses facilitate the investment by picking up documents from your house and guiding you through the KYC screening. ELSS funds are equity schemes and carry the same market risk as any other diversified fund. Last year was not good for equities, and even top-rated ELSS funds lost money. However, the funds are miles ahead of PPF in 3- and 5-year returns.
The SIP route is the best way to contain the risk of investing in equity funds. However, with just three months left for the financial year to end, at best, a taxpayer will manage 2-3 SIPs before 31 March. Since valuations are not stretched right now, one can put in a bigger amount.
Opt for the direct plan. Returns are higher because charges are lower.
The new online Ulips are ultra cheap, with some of them costing even less than direct mutual funds. They also offer greater flexibility. Unlike ELSS funds, where the investment cannot be touched for three years, Ulip investors can switch their corpus from equity to debt, and vice versa. What’s more, there is no tax implication of gains made from switching because insurance plans enjoy exemption under Section 10 (10d). Even so, only savvy investors who know how to use the switching facility should get in.
Opt for liquid or debt funds of the Ulip and gradually shift the money to the equity fund.
The last Budget made the NPS attractive as a tax-saving tool by offering an additional tax deduction of Rs 50,000. Also, pension fund managers have been allowed to invest in a larger basket of stocks.
Concerns remain about the cap on equity exposure. Besides, the taxability of the NPS on maturity is a sore point. At least 40% of the corpus must be put in an annuity. Right now, the income from annuities is taxed at the normal rate.
Opt for the auto choice where the equity exposure is linked to age and comes down as you grow older.
PPF AND VPF
It’s been almost four years since the PPF rate was linked to the benchmark bond yield. But bond yields have stayed buoyant and the PPF rate has not fallen. However, the government has indicated that it will review the interest rates on small savings schemes, including PPF and NSCs. If this is a worry, opt for the Voluntary Provident Fund. It offers that same interest rate and tax benefits as the EPF. There is no limit to how much you can invest in the VPF. The contribution gets deducted from the salary itself so the investor does not even feel it go.
Allocate 25% of your pay hike to VPF. You won’t notice the deduction.
SUKANYA SAMRIDDHI SCHEME
This scheme for the girl child is a great way to save tax. It is open only to girls below 10. If you have a daughter that old, the Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme is a better option than bank deposits, child plans and even the PPF account. Accounts can be opened in any post office or designated branches of PSU banks with a minimum Rs 1,000. The maximum investment in a financial year is Rs 1.5 lakh and deposits can be made for 14 years. The account matures when the girl turns 21, though up to 50% of the corpus can be withdrawn after she turns 18.
Instead of PPF, put money in the Sukanya scheme and earn 50 bps more.
SENIOR CITIZENS’ SCHEME This is the best tax-saving instrument for retirees. At 9.3%, it offers the highest interest rate among all Post Office schemes. The tenure is 5 years, extendable by 3 years. Interest is paid quarterly on fixed dates. However, there is a Rs 15 lakh overall investment limit.
If you want ot invest more than Rs 15 lakh, gift the amount to your spouse and invest in her name.
BANK FDS AND NSCs
Though bank FDs and NSCs offer assured returns, the interest earned on the deposits is fully taxable. They are best suited to taxpayers in the 10% bracket or senior citizens who have exhausted the Rs 15 lakh limit in the Senior Citizens’ Saving Scheme.
Invest in FDs and NSCs if you don’t have time to assess the other options and the deadline is near.
Pension plans from insurance companies still have high charges which makes them poor investments. They also force the investor to put a larger portion (66%) of the corpus in an annuity. The prevailing annuity rates are not very attractive. Pension plans launched by mutual funds have lower charges, but are MFs disguised as pension plans. Moreover, they are debtoriented plans so they are not eligible for tax benefits that equity plans enjoy.
Invest in plans from mutual funds. They offer greater flexibility than those from life insurers.
Traditional life insurance policies remain the worst way to save tax. Still, millions of taxpayers buy these policies every year, lured by the “triple benefits” of life insurance cover, longterm savings and tax benefits. Actually, these policies give very little cover. A premium of Rs 20,000 a year will get you a cover of roughly Rs 2 lakh. The returns are very poor, barely 6% if you opt for a 20-year plan. And the tax-free income is a sham. Going by the indexation rule, if the returns are below the inflation rate, the income should anyway be tax free. The problem is that once you sign up for these policies, they become millstones around your neck.
If you can’t afford to pay the premium, turn your insurance plan into a paid-up policy.
TNN | Apr 7, 2015, 06.55AM IST | Times of India
It’s the start of the financial year 2015-16. This is also the time when every investor should put in place a plan for investing and saving on taxes using all the options that the government has given to them. However, according to financial planners and advisors, while putting in place a long-term financial plan, the main aim should not be tax savings. The main aim should be to build the required corpus for the goal for which you are investing. Here are some tricks that will help you build wealth in the long run without much thought…
Use your bonus wisely
This is the time lot of people get a bonus. According to top of ficials at mutual fund houses and financial advisors, rather than spending on things that may not be an absolute necessity, you can invest the whole or a major part of the bonus in an equity mutual fund. Let us assume that you get a bonus of Rs 3 lakh this year and you put the whole amount in an equity mutual fund.
Now let us also assume that every year your bonus increases by 10% while the equity fund you are investing in, over a 10 year period, gives you a return of 12% per annum.At the start of the second year, your bonus is Rs 3.3 lakh and at the start of the third year it is at about Rs 3.6 lakh. At this rate, at the start of the 10th year, your yearly bonus will be about Rs 5.7 lakh. But if you have invested your yearly bonus every year in the equity fund that gave an annual return of 12%, your total corpus at the end of the 10th year will be a little over Rs 80 lakh. This looks like a staggering amount, but there is no magic in it.
Make good use of ELSS
According to financial planners and advisers, equity-linked savings plans (ELSS) floated by mutual fund houses are one of the best tax saving options for investors. This is because in the long term they have the potential to generate an average annual return of 12%, saves on taxes under section 80C of Income Tax Act and has a lock-in of just three years.
The returns from all ELSS are also tax free while the costs are around 2.5% per annum, one of the lowest for similar products. In comparison, most of the other tax-saving options cannot generate as high a return, costs are higher and returns are taxed on redemption. A combination of some of these factors makes such products unattractive in comparison to ELSS. So suppose after taking care of your contributions to provident fund, home loans, etc, you are still left with about Rs 60,000 to invest to save taxes under section 80C, go for one or more SIPs aggregating Rs 5,000 per month so that your yearly contribution is Rs 60,000.At about 12% average annual return, in 10 years, this can grow to be a Rs 11.6 lakh corpus.
Use excess cash intelligently
If you keep your excess cash that you need at a short notice, you probably keep it in your savings bank account. However, a better alternative is to keep it in a liquid fund of a good mutual fund house. Compared to 4-6% annual return that you can get in your savings bank account, liquid funds on an average has given a return of over 7.5% in the last five years while some of the best liquid schemes have returned over 8.6%. This higher return comes at a slightly higher risk and slightly less liquidity , that is about 24 hours, compared to money at call in case of savings bank accounts. So, if you can manage your cash inflows and outflows well, you can put your extra money in liquid schemes and earn much higher returns. There’s alternative to FDs Fixed maturity plans (FMPs) are a good alternative to fixed deposits (FDs). If you are keeping your money in FDs for three years or more, FMPs of similar maturities can give you a much better return as FMPs enjoy long-term capital gains tax advantages if the money is kept for more than three years. FDs do not enjoy similar benefits.
Source : http://goo.gl/KowGgd
M Allirajan, TNN | Mar 25, 2015, 12.18AM IST | Times of India
Dividends in mutual fund (MF) schemes are getting bigger. The strong rally in markets has prompted fund houses to offer higher payouts for investors — as high as 85% — with even balanced funds that invest a portion of their corpus in fixed income giving payouts.
Equity-linked savings schemes (ELSSs) have been the most prolific in offering dividends as they compete to garner funds from investors who rush to buy tax-saver instruments just before the close of the financial year to lower their tax burden. As many as ten ELSSs, or tax-saver equity MFs, have declared dividends since early March.
Religare Invesco’s Growth Fund has declared a dividend of Rs 8.5 per unit, or 85%, the highest for the 27-month-old fund. HDFC Taxsaver Fund has offered a dividend of Rs 7 per unit, the highest since 2008. SBI Magnum Taxgain Fund has given a similar payout, which is also the highest in seven years. These funds have gained 50.4-53.2% in the last one year.
“The ability to pay dividends is quite high as there has been a significant increase in NAVs (net asset values) in the last one year,” says Chandresh Nigam, MD & CEO, Axis MF.
Vetri Subramaniam, chief investment officer, Religare Invesco MF, adds, “We have seen good profits and are distributing it to investors. Most funds were not able to pay dividends properly in the last few years because there were no incremental profits.”
In fact, equity MF dividends had dried up between 2010 and 2014 as the markets remained tepid. Several schemes did not pay dividends during this period because they did not have enough incremental profits.
Equity-oriented balanced funds, which have seen strong growth on the back of surging markets, are also rewarding their investors. While Kotak Balance Fund is giving a dividend of Rs 3 per unit, HDFC Balanced Fund is offering Rs 2 per unit. This category of funds has gained 41.1% on an average in the last one year.
Source : http://goo.gl/nL7LBZ
By ET Bureau | 22 Jan, 2015, 10.29AM IST | Economic Times
MUMBAI: The government may consider the demand of banks to make fixed deposits for three years and more tax-free instead of the five-year lock-in period at present, providing these lenders a level-playing field with mutual funds and tax-free bonds that have been weaning away a large chunk of investors.
Indicating this possibility, officials said bank executives and heads of financial institutions also requested finance minister Arun Jaitley in a pre-budget meeting to consider separate tax slabs for corporate entities on the lines of different tax slabs for individuals.
“The view from the pre-budget meeting is that FDs of lower maturity should be considered for tax benefits,” said a person present in the meeting.
Bankers say this will discourage people from opting for other instruments like mutual funds, which have a lock-in period of three years. The terms of schemes eligible for tax rebate under Section 80 C are not uniform; while public provident fund has a lock-in period of 15 years, it is six years in the case of national savings certificate and three years in equitylinked savings schemes (ELSS).
“Largely, it will bring flexibility to people in terms of lock-in and lower lock-in will make it (the sum invested) available after three years,” said Suresh Sadagopan, founder of Ladder 7 Financial Advisories. “This will bring bank FD in direct competition with ELSS.”
Financial saving as a percentage of gross domestic saving fell to 7.1% in 2012-13 from 7.2% in the previous year. Gross domestic saving fell to 30.1% from 31.3% during this period.
At present, investment up to Rs 1.5 lakh in certain instruments including various post office schemes, public provident fund, bank deposit, life insurance and principal paid on housing loan is eligible for a tax rebate.
Source : http://goo.gl/unqOIj
By Neha Pandey Deoras | Jan 12, 2015, 06.40AM IST |Times of India
ET Wealth graded the eight most common tax-saving investments on the basis of returns, safety, liquidity, flexibility, taxability of income and cost of investment. Here’s a look at these eight instruments.
The hike in the deduction limit under Section 80C means that a taxpayer can reduce his tax by up to Rs 15,000. But the higher limit may not be of much use if you don’t know which tax-saving option suits you best. ET Wealth graded the eight most common tax-saving investments on the basis of returns, safety, liquidity, flexibility, taxability of income and cost of investment. Here’s a look at these eight instruments.
There are compelling reasons why ELSS funds should be part of the equity allocation in a taxpayer’s investment portfolio in 2015. Returns in past three years 27.34%. They may be low on safety but they score full points on all other parameters. The returns are high, the income is tax free, the investor is free to alter the time and amount of investment, the lock-in of 3 years is the shortest among all tax saving investments and the cost is only 2-2.5% a year. The liquidity is even higher if you opt for the dividend option and the cost is even lower if you go for the direct plans of these funds.
Smart tip: Invest in the dividend option which acts as a profit-booking mechanism and also gives you liquidity. Dividends are tax-free.
For a lot of people, Ulip is still a four letter word. However, investors need to wake up to the new reality.
An ordinary Ulip is still a costly proposition for the buyer. But the online avatar of these marketlinked insurance plans is a low-cost option far removed from what was missold to investors a few years ago. The Click2Invest plan from HDFC Life, for instance, charges only 1.35% a year for fund management. Ulips can be used as a rebalancing tool by the savvy investor. He can switch from equity to debt and vice versa, without any tax implication. Buy a Ulip only if you can pay the premiums for the full term. Also, take a plan for at least 15 years. A short-term plan may not be able to recover the high charges levied in the initial years.
Smart tip: Don’t invest in the equity fund at one go.
Invest in a liquid fund and then shift small amounts to equity fund.
Budget 2014 also hiked the annual investment limit in the PPF. Returns 8.7%. Risk averse investors can now sock away more in the ultra-safe for 2014-15 scheme. The PPF scores high on safety, taxability and costs, but returns are not so attractive and liquidity is not very high. The scheme will give 8.7% this year but don’t count on this in the following years. The interest rate on small savings schemes such as the PPF is linked to the government bond yield and is likely to come down in the coming years.
Smart tip: Open a PPF account in a bank that allows online access. It will reduce the effort.
SR CITIZENS’ SAVING SCHEME
The Senior Citizens’ Saving Scheme (SCSS) is an ideal tax saving option for senior citizens above 60. Returns 9.2%. The money is safe and for 2014-15 returns and liquidity are reasonably good. However, the interest income received from the scheme is fully taxable.The interest rate is linked to the government bond yield. It is 1 percentage point higher than the 5-year government bond yield. Unlike in case of the PPF, the interest rate will remain unchanged till the investment matures.
Smart tip: Stagger your investments in the Senior Citizens’ Saving Scheme across 2-3 financial years to avail of the tax benefits.
The New Pension Scheme (NPS) is yet to become a popular choice because of the complex procedures involved in opening an account. Returns 8-11% in past five years. But investors who managed to cross that chasm have found it rewarding. NPS funds have not done badly in the past five years. The returns from the E class funds are in line with those of the Nifty, while corporate bond funds and gilt funds have given close to double-digit returns. But financial planners believe that the 50% cap on equity investments is too conservative. The other sore points is the lack of liquidity and taxability of the income. The annuity income will also be fully taxable.
Smart tip: Start a Tier II account to benefit from the low-cost structure of the NPS.
BANK FDS, NSCS
Bank FDs and NSCs score high on safety, flexibility and costs but the tax treatment of income drags down the overall score. Returns 8.5-9.1% for 2015. The interest rates are a tad higher than what the PPF offers but the income is fully taxable at the slab rate applicable to the individual. They suit taxpayers in the 10% bracket (taxable income of less than `5 lakh a year). The big advantage is that these are widely available. Just walk into any bank branch and invest in its tax saving fixed deposit.
Smart tip: Build a ladder by investing every year.After the fourth year, just reinvest the maturity amounts in fresh deposits.
Pension plans from insurance companies remain costly investments that are best avoided. Returns in past three years 8-18%. Instead, it may be a better idea to go for retirement funds from mutual funds. They give the same tax benefits but don’t force the investor to annuitise the corpus on maturity. He is also free to remain invested beyond the age of 60. Till now, all the pension plans were debt-oriented balanced schemes.Last week, Reliance Mutual Fund launched its Reliance Retirement Fund, an equity-oriented fund.However, ELSS schemes and Ulips can be used for the same purpose.
Smart tip: Wait for the launch of retirement funds and assess their performance before investing.
Traditional insurance plans are the worst way to save tax. Returns 5.5-6%. They require a multi-year commitment and give very poor returns. The insurance for 20 year regulator has introduced some plans customer-friendly changes but these plans still don’t qualify as good investments. The only good thing is that the income is tax free. But then, so is the income from the PPF and tax free bonds. Another positive feature is that you can easily get a loan against such policies, which gives some liquidity to the policyholder.
Smart tip: If you have a high-cost insurance plan, turn it into a paid-up policy to ease the premium burden.
Source : http://goo.gl/lAQFGL