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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Invest in ELSS: Save Tax, Create Wealth

Invest in ELSS: Save Tax, Create Wealth

By DWAIPAYAN BOSE
February 07, 2023 10:31 IST
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The three year lock-in period enables ELSS fund managers to invest in high conviction stocks for a long period of time because of relatively less redemption pressure, says Dwaipayan Bose.

Tax

Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
 

As we approach the end of FY 2022-2023/AY 2023-2024, you should ensure that you complete the tax planning for this year by March 31, 2023 for availing the tax benefits available under various sections of Income Tax Act, 1961.

If you are unable to complete tax planning before the deadline set by your company or before March 31, 2023, whichever is earlier, you may see a big TDS deduction in your March pay-slip or you may have to pay additional income tax with interest when you file your Income Tax Returns (ITR).

Tax savings under Section 80C

Tax payers can claim deductions of up to Rs 1.5 lakh every year from their gross taxable income by investing in various schemes allowed in Section 80C of Income Tax Act. You can save up to Rs 46,800 in taxes by investing in 80C schemes. Eligible investments under Section 80C are Voluntary Provident Fund (VPF), Public Provident Funds (PPF), National Savings Certificates (NSC), 5-year tax saver fixed deposits, life insurance plans (traditional and unit linked), mutual fund Equity Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS) etc. You should understand that while VPF, PPF, NSC and 5-year tax saver FDs are risk free investments, ELSS and Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) are subject to market risks.

Equity Linked Savings Schemes

Equity Linked Savings Schemes are diversified equity mutual funds with a lock-in period of 3 years. These funds diversify across different industry sectors and market capitalisation segments. You can start investing in ELSS with Rs 100 only. There is no upper limit of investments in ELSS; however, you can claim tax deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakh u/s 80C.

ELSS funds are open-ended but redemptions are not allowed before completion of 3 years from date of investment. You can invest in SIP either in lump sum or through SIP. If you are investing in ELSS through SIP, then each SIP installment will be locked in for 3 years.

Wealth creation by ELSS

Many tax payers make 80C investments purely for the purpose of tax savings. However, your investments should have some objective, other than purely tax savings. It can be capital appreciation or income generation.

Historical data shows that equity, as an asset class, has the potential of giving superior returns in the long term. In the last 20 years (ending December 31, 2022) Nifty 50 TRI (Total Returns Index, which even takes into account dividends paid on the Nifty 50stocks) has given 16.6 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) returns (Source: NSE, Advisorkhoj Research, as on December 31, 2022. Disclaimer: Past performance may or may not be sustained in the future).

The chart below shows how much wealth you could have accumulated through a monthly SIP of Rs 10,000 in Nifty 50 TRI over the last 20 years (ending December 31, 2022). With a cumulative investment of Rs 24 lakh, you could have accumulated a corpus of nearly Rs 1.2 crore over the last 20 years. This chart clearly demonstrates the wealth creation potential of equity as an asset class over long investment horizons.

Tax

Graphic: Advisorkhoj

Source: NSE, Advisorkhoj Research, as on December 31, 2022. Disclaimer: Past performance may or may not be sustained in the future

The chart above shows the wealth creation potential of equity as an asset class. ELSS funds are actively managed schemes which invest across industry sectors and market capitalisations segments. Since ELSS funds can invest across market capitalisation segments, there is opportunity for fund managers to create alphas (give higher risk adjusted returns than market benchmark) by investing in a bigger universe of stocks, which have potential of giving higher returns due to growth or value opportunities.

The three year lock-in period enables ELSS fund managers to invest in high conviction stocks for a long period of time because of relatively less redemption pressure.

Tax advantage of ELSS

Taxation on redemption or maturity proceeds should be an important consideration in making informed investment decisions. While EPF, VPF and PPF maturity proceeds are tax free, interest income on VPF contributions in excess of Rs 2.5 lakh in a financial year, will be taxed as per your income tax rate.

Five-year tax saver Bank FD interest is taxed as per your income tax rate. The interest component in NSC maturity proceeds is also taxed as per your income tax rate but the accrued interest every year can be claimed as part of 80C deductions for the year.

Life insurance maturity proceeds are tax free, as long as the premium does not exceed 10 per cent of the sum assured (for policies issued before April 1, 2022) or 20 per cent of the sum assured (for policies issued before April 1, 2022).

ELSS is one of the most tax-efficient 80C investment options. Capital gains of up to Rs 1 lakh in ELSS investments is tax exempt in a financial year and taxed at 10 per cent plus applicable surcharge and cess thereafter.

Who should invest in ELSS?

  • Investors looking to save taxes by investing in schemes eligible u/s 80C can save up to Rs 46,800 per year in taxes by investing in ELSS
  • Investors who are looking for capital appreciation or wealth creation over long investment tenures
  • Investors should have minimum three year investment horizons for ELSS. Though you can redeem your ELSS units partially or fully after the completion of 3 years from date of investment, you should have long investment horizons for ELSS -- the longer your investment horizon, higher will be the wealth creation potential of your investment.
  • Investors should have moderately high to high risk appetites for ELSS.
  • Tax saving investments u/s 80C must be made before March 31 of a financial year, if you want to claim the benefits for the same year. You must plan accordingly.

Disclaimer: You should consult your financial advisor or mutual fund distributor regarding your tax planning and discuss if ELSS is suitable for your tax planning and long term investment needs.

Mutual Fund Investments are subject to market risk, read all scheme related documents carefully.

Dwaipayan Bose leads content production and mutual fund research at

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DWAIPAYAN BOSE