Raghav and Raman found themselves discussing their financial goals. With the year-end approaching, the topic naturally shifted to tax planning. Raman, the meticulous planner, had a gleam in his eye as he began, “Raghav, have you considered maximising your tax savings through Section 80C?”
Raghav raised an eyebrow, “Section 80C? What’s that?”
With a chuckle, Raman explained, “It’s a gold mine for tax savings. You can invest in various avenues and claim deductions up to Rs 1.5 lakh from your taxable income.”
Intrigued, Raghav asked for the secrets. And so, the financial journey began.
Read on to understand how to save income tax.
Employee provident fund (EPF)
Raman demystified the magic of EPF for Raghav. EPF, a mandatory contribution for salaried individuals, became more than just a retirement savings tool. Raman emphasised that both employer and employee contributions qualify for deductions under Section 80C, making it a powerful tax-saving avenue while ensuring financial security in the golden years.
Public provident fund (PPF)
Raghav, initially sceptical, was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of PPF. Raman explained that PPF, a government-backed savings scheme, not only ensures tax-free interest but also provides long-term stability. Raghav realised that the fifteen-year lock-in period was a small trade-off for the security and tax advantages it offered.
Equity-linked savings schemes (ELSS)
Raman kicked off the financial exploration with ELSS, shedding light on its unique features. ELSS, being a type of mutual fund, not only opens doors to potentially high returns but also acts as a tax-saving instrument under Section 80C. Raghav learned that ELSS has a lock-in period of three years, offering the dual advantage of wealth creation and tax benefits.
National savings certificate (NSC)
Raghav, with a preference for safety in investments, found NSC to be an ideal choice. Raman elaborated on how NSC combines the safety of government-backed savings with attractive tax benefits. The fixed tenure and assured returns made NSC an excellent option for risk-averse investors like Raghav.
Sukanya samriddhi yojana (SSY)
Raghav’s amazement grew as he discovered SSY, an exclusive scheme for the girl child. Raman explained how SSY not only provided tax benefits under Section 80C but also ensured a secure financial future for Raghav’s daughter. The dual advantage of tax savings and future planning made SSY a heartening discovery.
Tax-saving fixed deposits
Raman steered the conversation towards tax-saving fixed deposits, highlighting their safety and reliability. These FDs come with a lock-in period and offer guaranteed returns, making them a secure investment option. Raghav realised that even traditional investments could play a crucial role in tax planning.
Senior citizens’ savings scheme (SCSS)
For those in their golden years, Raman shared insights on SCSS. Raghav learned that SCSS, designed for senior citizens, not only provides regular income but also offers tax savings. The simplicity and reliability of SCSS made it an attractive option for those seeking financial stability post-retirement.
Five-year fixed deposit with banks
Raghav, intrigued by the simplicity of bank FDs, discovered that even these conventional investments could be tax-efficient. Raman explained how a five-year fixed deposit with banks, with a lock-in period, could contribute to tax savings while ensuring the safety of the principal.
Equity-linked debentures (ELD)
Raman delved into the world of debentures with a twist—equity-linked debentures (ELD). These hybrid instruments combine the safety of debentures with the growth potential of equity. Raghav discovered that while offering a fixed interest rate, ELD also qualifies for Section 80C deductions, providing a unique avenue for both stability and returns.
National pension scheme (NPS)
Raman enlightened Raghav on the dual benefit of retirement planning and tax savings with NPS. Raghav realised that NPS offered a systematic way to build a retirement corpus while enjoying tax benefits under Section 80C. The flexibility and market-linked returns added to its appeal as a wise long-term investment.
Equity savings scheme (ESS)
Raman introduced Raghav to the lesser-known gem, equity savings scheme (ESS). Unlike traditional equity funds, ESS combines equity, debt, and arbitrage to provide a balanced approach. Raghav discovered that not only does it offer potential returns, but it also qualifies for Section 80C benefits, offering a unique blend of growth and tax savings.
Tuition fees for children
Raghav’s eyes widened as he discovered that the education expenses for up to two children could be eligible for Section 80C deductions. Raman emphasised the importance of planning for the future by not only securing their education but also availing tax benefits simultaneously.
Home loan principal repayment
Raghav, being a homeowner, was thrilled to learn that the principal repayment of his home loan qualifies for Section 80C deductions. Raman explained how each EMI paid towards the principal amount contributed to both building equity in the property and reducing taxable income.
National savings scheme (NPS) tier-II account
Building on their discussion about NPS, Raman introduced Raghav to the NPS Tier-II account. While NPS Tier-I is primarily for retirement, Tier-II offers liquidity and flexibility. Though it doesn’t provide additional tax benefits under Section 80C, Raghav found the tier-II account useful for short to medium-term goals while indirectly contributing to overall financial planning.
Term life insurance premiums
In the vertical of insurance, Raman guided Raghav towards term life insurance. The premiums paid for term insurance plans not only provide financial protection to the family but also offer tax benefits under Section 80C. Raghav realised the dual purpose of securing his loved ones and optimising his tax liability.
After this, Raghav and Raman explored the intricacies of life insurance premiums, repayment of home loans, and even contributions to specified pension funds.
Raghav realised that smart financial planning was not just about saving taxes but also about securing his and his family’s future. With Raman’s guidance, Raghav crafted a diversified portfolio, utilising the full spectrum of Section 80C benefits.
Months later, as the financial year closed, Raghav found himself not just with tax savings but with a sense of financial security. Over another cup of chai, he thanked Raman for enlightening him about Section 80C and turning a routine tax planning conversation into a transformative financial journey.