Income tax savings: 5 investment options offering a fixed interest rate without stock market volatility

Written by CA Amit Gupta, MD, SAG Infotech

In today’s market, you can save your income tax as there are various tax savers available in the market. However, there are some tax saving plans like NPS, ELSS Mutual Funds and Ulips which are also market based investments but due to non-fixing of returns, many investors find that this is one of the causes to be avoided.

If an individual is considering tax-saving fixed interest rate investments without any volatility in the stock market, the main investment choices that he can choose are the public provident fund (PPF), the Post Office Time Deposit Account (POTD), National Savings Certificates (NSC), 5 Year Bank Tax Saver and Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (SCSC).

Under Section 80C, an individual can invest up to Rs 1.5 lakh per annum in the above mentioned investment schemes:

Savings plan for seniors

The Senior Citizens’ Savings Scheme (SCSS) is the preferred option for retirees. SCSS sets a 5-year mandate, which could be extended for three years once the scheme matures. The maximum investment limit of SCSS would be Rs 15 lakh and anyone can open an account or more. However, the same scheme would be available exclusively for seniors or pre-retirees. This scheme can be claimed from the post office or the bank, and only people over the age of 60 can apply for it. In SCSS, pre-retirees can invest, given that they do the same within a month of obtaining their retirement funds.

Postal Term Account (POTD)

A Postal Term Account (POTD) has a term of 1, 2, 3 and 5 years whereas it is exclusively a 5 year deposit which benefits from the tax under Section 80C.

National cash vouchers

National Savings Certificates (NSC) is known as a 5 year scheme with a total amount to be deposited. NSC does not commit to providing monthly or annual interest payments and guarantees a progressive choice. In addition, interest not reinvested in the last year of the period may qualify for Section 80C benefits for the year in which it is deemed to have been reinvested.

Taxed fixed deposits 5 years notified

Investing in 5-year notified tax saving fixed deposits in a bank (a debt tax saver) is a superior decision for people who have exceeded the Section 80C limit of Rs 1.5 lakh in one year. These types of deposits would come with options to pay monthly, quarterly or cumulative interest on the investment incurred.

Public provident fund

The public provident fund (PPF) scheme could be extended indefinitely over a period of 5 years. The same could be opened at a specified post office or a bank branch. The PPF can be opened online with banks that have enabled online opening features for their customers. A public provident fund is suitable for investors who want to avoid the volatility of returns that typically characterizes the equity asset class. But looking at the long-term plan when the inflation-adjusted target amount is much higher than the same would be effective in choosing those equity assets, via equity mutual funds and ELSS tax savings funds , rather than relying solely on the PPF.

Stephen V. Lee