February 2010

Tax Savings – Section 80C – Part II

Tax Planning,minimizing the tax liability, section 80C, 80CCC and 80CCD,ELSS (Equity linked savings scheme), 5-Yr tax-saving bank fixed deposits (FDs) of banks, PPF (Public Provident Fund), EPF (Employee’s provident fund),In this part, I will cover the Life Insurance premiums, pension plans on mutual funds and from insurance companies, and various expenses which are also eligible for deductions under 80C.

Life Insurance premiums covered under Section 80C
Premium paid towards life insurance for yourself or your family (spouse and children) is eligible for section 80C tax break. The maximum deduction available is upto a maximum of Rs. 100,000/- under Section 80C. The sum received (including bonus) under life insurance policy (excluding Key man Insurance) is tax free. Please note that Life Insurance needs to be planned properly and should not only be taken for the purpose of Tax savings. (Note that most of the Life Insurance companies come up with innovative , yet inadequate products during the Jan-Feb-Mar period every year to lure investors into schemes which offer inadequate coverage and inadequate returns. They know that people are looking out for avenues). Be-aware.

Types of Life Insurance Policies briefly are :

– Term Policy : This is the undoubtedly the best life insurance scheme which covers only Risk of Death and no survival benefits. This offers maximum coverage for lowest premiums.

– Endowment Policy : This plan accumulates capital over a period of time, returns sum assured + bonus at end of period and covers risk in case of premature death

– Money Back Policy : This plan accumulates capital over a period of time, provides periodic payment during the policy + balance and bonus at the end of period and covers risk in case of premature death

– Whole Life Policy : This plan runs through the life of the policy holder, requiring the payment of premiums throughout the life. There are no survival benefits to the policy holder as he is not entitled. Sum assured + bonus is payable to beneficiaries.

– Annuities : This is an investment that is made ( single lump sum payment or through installments ), in return for a specific sum that is received every year/ 1/2 year or every month, either for life or for a fixed number of years.

– ULIP – Unit linked insurance plans : Unit Linked Insurance Plan – is a financial product that offers you life insurance as well as an investment like a mutual fund. Part of the premium you pay goes towards the sum assured (amount you get in a life insurance policy) and the balance will be invested in whichever investments you desire – equity, fixed-return or a mixture of both. Ulips gets covered under life insurance – 80C, and they are popular. However, you should avoid ULIPS as far as possible. I will discuss about this more on my ULIP Awareness post later on.

Pension Plans from Mutual Funds covered under Section 80C

There are two mutual fund pension plans –Templeton India Pension Plan  and UTI Retirement Benefit Pension Plan. Both have a mandatory lock – in period of 3 yrs. And they encourage investors to invest for long term. THese funds are primarily debt oriented mutual funds and offer tax benefit under Section 80C. However these funds have not yet gained popularity among investors. Pls note that unlike traditional pension plans of insurance companies, these mutual funds do not provide pension or annuity.

Regular Pension plans of Insurance Companies covered under section 80C

 

Pension plans are offered by insurance companies and the contributions, qualifies for tax benefit under section 80CCC instead of section 80C.

Payment of premium for annuity plan of LIC or any other insurer Deduction is available upto a maximum of Rs. 100,000/-. (aggregate deduction under Sec. 80C, 80CCC and 80CCD)