Tax is an unavoidable yet essential part of life, and it certainly pays to have a comprehensive plan in place for taxes. Investing in 80C tax-saving investments can be an ideal way for responsible taxpayers to save on taxes while ensuring their financial future is secure. While all tax saving investments under 80C can be beneficial, ELSS mutual funds are one efficient way to both save on taxes and invest for long-term growth.
Learn more about ELSS mutual funds and what additional benefits they have to offer over other 80C tax-saving options.
What is an ELSS mutual fund?
An ELSS mutual fund is an equity-based fund that invests mainly in stocks and shares of listed companies. Since they come with a tax benefit, ELSS funds are also known as tax saving mutual funds. In India, investments up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs (under section 80C) can be claimed as deductions from taxable income each year. This deduction helps ELSS investors reduce their tax liabilities significantly and make more money available for other investments or savings.
Furthermore, the ability to invest in ELSS online through a lump sum or a systematic investment plan (SIP) allows you to choose exactly how and when you want to invest, giving you more control over your finances.
Advantages of investing in ELSS mutual funds over other tax-saving options
- Flexibility and maximum liquidity
The lock-in period for ELSS investments is three years, which is much lower than the five or ten-year lock-in periods for other tax-saving instruments like public provident fund (PPF) (15 years), tax-saving bank FD (5 years) or the national savings system (5 years). This means that you have a shorter time frame to plan your investments and accrue returns while still being able to enjoy the same tax benefits.
Note that redeeming ELSS funds after three years is not mandatory, you can continue to stay invested.
- Diversification and portfolio diversification
Another advantage of investing in ELSS mutual funds is portfolio diversification. Since these schemes invest primarily in equities with a mix of large-, mid-, and small-cap stocks, they provide exposure to multiple sectors, which helps reduce market risks and volatility compared to investing in individual stocks directly. This means that if some stocks start performing poorly in your portfolio, others may pick up and help you maintain your overall performance level.
- Long-term capital appreciation through equities
Since ELSS funds invest predominantly in equity instruments, they are market linked and thus offer higher returns than other 80C investments. Note that, unlike PPF, you don’t get fixed returns with ELSS funds. The returns depend on how well the underlying stocks perform in the market. But if you can stomach the volatility and invest for a longer time frame, the returns can be significantly higher than the fixed-income products.
There are other 80C tax-saving options available, but ELSS funds offer all the advantages of mutual fund investment, including the potential for greater returns and increased diversification, plus an added bonus of getting your investment back in as early as three years. Knowing that you have this flexibility emphasises why many investors prefer to invest in ELSS funds over other 80C tax-saving options. For additional security, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a financial advisor who can help make decisions based on your financial capacity, risk appetite, and expectations from the scheme.