For many people, tax savings and tax calculations are a big challenge. And on top of that, you have to compare multiple tax savings options. And comparing different tax-saving options is not always an apple-to-apple comparison. So in this article, we compared two of the most used tax savings instrument – ELSS and PPF, so you can decide which is the best tax savings account between ELSS vs PPF.
ELSS and PPF are two of the most used Tax Savings Instruments in India, and they can be very useful when used correctly. But not knowing when and how to use them and improper implementation of these instruments can scar your financial health for life. So in this ELSS vs PPF article, we tried to save you from committing such blunders and ruining your financial health.
- What Is An ELSS Mutual Fund?
- How Much Can You Deposit In An ELSS Mutual Fund?
- What Is The Minimum Investment Amount Of An ELSS Mutual Fund?
- How To Calculate Lock-in Period In An ELSS Mutual Fund?
- What Is The Best Way To Invest In An ELSS Mutual Fund? SIP or Lumpsum?
- From Where Can I Invest In An ELSS Mutual Fund?
- What Is a PPF Account or a Public Provident Fund Account?
- How Much Money Can You Deposit In a PPF Account?
- What Is The Minimum Deposit Amount For a PPF Account?
- How Many Times Can You Deposit In a PPF Account?
- Which Is The Best Way To Invest In a PPF Account? Monthly Deposit or Lumpsum Deposit?
- How To Open a PPF Account?
- Similarities Between an ELSS Mutual Fund and a PPF Account
- What Is The Difference Between ELSS Mutual Fund and PPF?
- Which Is The Best Way To Save Taxes? ELSS or PPF?
As said by a wise man – Getting Back to Basics is the Simplest Way to Find Calm in The Chaos. So, let us start with the basics first.
What Is An ELSS Mutual Fund?
ELSS or Equity Linked Savings Scheme is a type of Tax Saving Mutual Fund where you can invest to get a maximum tax deduction of up to Rs. 1,50,000/- in a financial year on your taxable income under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act of 1961.
How Much Can You Deposit In An ELSS Mutual Fund?
You can deposit as much as you want in an ELSS Mutual Fund, but you can only avail maximum tax deduction of Rs. 1,50,000/- on your taxable income under Section 80C within a financial year.
Let us simplify the concept for you with an example.
You might invest Rs. 3 Lakhs in an ELSS Mutual Fund in a financial year starting from the 1st of April and ending on the 31st of March of the next year. But you cannot claim more than Rs. 1,50,000/- tax deduction on your taxable income from that investment.
What Is The Minimum Investment Amount Of An ELSS Mutual Fund?
The Minimum Investment Amount of an ELSS Mutual Fund depends on that particular fund, but you can find ELSS Mutual Funds with a Minimum Investment Amount as low as Rs. 100/-.
But remember, you shouldn’t be choosing an ELSS Mutual Fund just based on the Minimum Initial Investment Amount. There are a lot of things to consider before investing in an ELSS Mutual Fund.
How To Calculate Lock-in Period In An ELSS Mutual Fund?
If you invest in an ELSS Mutual Fund through Lumpsum Investment Method then your Lock-in Period starts from the Date of Investment. Let us understand this with an example.
If you invested your money in an ELSS Mutual Fund on the 10th of September, 2020 through the Lumpsum investment method, then you can redeem your mutual fund Units on the 10th of September, 2023. Because ELSS Mutual Funds has a Lock-in Period of 3 Years.
But if you invest through the SIP Method, then each SIP will have its own Lock-in Period starting from the Date of Investment of each SIP.
Let us see an example.
If you started your SIP on the 15th of April, 2020, and ended your SIP on the 15th of June, 2020. Then your 1st SIP will become redeemable on the 15th of June, 2023. Your 2nd SIP will become redeemable on the 15th of May, 2023 and your 3rd SIP will become redeemable on the 15th of June, 2023.
Money Premier ELSS Mutual Fund Investment Tips
If you want to easily calculate the lock-in period of SIP investment, then treat each SIP as a Lumpsum investment.
And if you are in no hurry to redeem your ELSS Investment, then to avoid all confusion, redeem it after the 3rd Year of your final SIP investment date.
What Is The Best Way To Invest In An ELSS Mutual Fund? SIP or Lumpsum?
The best way to invest in an ELSS Mutual Fund for most retail investors is through the SIP method. Generating quality returns, through the Lumpsum investment method in an ELSS Mutual Fund, requires in-depth market knowledge, and you have to time the market, which is not advisable.
Regular SIPs average out the ups and downs of the market, thus minimizing your risk.
From Where Can I Invest In An ELSS Mutual Fund?
You can invest in an ELSS Mutual Fund in 3 ways.
- Through the portal of the AMC or the Fund House that manages the particular ELSS Mutual Fund.
- Through a broker’s platform like Upstox MF Platform (We had a detailed discussion in our Upstox Review about how to invest in mutual funds through Upstox) or Zerodha Coin ( You need a Zerodha Demat Account to use the Zerodha Coin platform).
- In the era of smartphones, you can use apps like Groww. (In our Index Fund vs Mutual Fund article we have talked about how to use the Groww App, in detail).
We suggest you do not use Full-Service brokers or Mutual Fund Agents to invest in Mutual Funds, as they do not provide Direct Funds. And you have to pay the broker commission which will add up to a huge amount in the long term.
What Is a PPF Account or a Public Provident Fund Account?
A PPF Account or a Public Provident Fund Account is an EEE-rated, Government-Backed tax savings account where you can deposit money to get a maximum tax deduction of up to Rs. 1,50,000/- in a financial year on your taxable income under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act of 1961.
How Much Money Can You Deposit In a PPF Account?
In a given financial year, that is, from the 1st of April to the 31st of March, you can only deposit only up to Rs. 1,50,000/- in your PPF Account.
What Is The Minimum Deposit Amount For a PPF Account?
You have to make a Minimum Annual Contribution of Rs. 500/- towards your PPF Account in a single Financial Year.
The Interest in a PPF Account is calculated monthly. You have to deposit your money in your PPF account before the 5th of the Month if you want your contribution to earn the deposit month’s interest.
For Example – If you deposit your money on the 5th of April, then your investment will be eligible for the Interest of May. But if you deposit on the 4th of April, then your contribution is eligible for the Interest of April.
How Many Times Can You Deposit In a PPF Account?
According to the new PPF Rules, as an Individual, you can deposit Any Number of Times in your PPF Account in the multiple of Rs 50/-. But the yearly deposit amount should not exceed Rs. 1,50,000/-.
The Old Rule which allowed you to deposit only 12 Times in your PPF Account in a financial year, in the multiple of Rs. 5/- is not valid anymore.
Sources – Live Mint, Financial Express
Which Is The Best Way To Invest In a PPF Account? Monthly Deposit or Lumpsum Deposit?
A Lumpsum Deposit within the 5th of April of a financial year is the best way to invest in a PPF account, compared to monthly deposits.
In a PPF Account, investing the whole Rs. 1.5 Lakh between the 1st of April and the 5th of April within a financial year, will yield you the highest amount of return.
PPF is a Low-Risk, Government-backed Savings Scheme, and the Volatility in a PPF account is ZERO. You don’t need to average out any considerable amount of Volatility in a PPF Account. So investing through the Lumpsum method in a PPF Account will yield the most return.
How? Well, let us show you an example.
For this example, we are considering the Interest Rate of the PPF Account to be 7.1%. And you will be investing Rs. 100 before the 5th of each month for a year.
So for the 1st Month –
Opening Balance – Rs. ZERO
Deposit Amount = Rs. 100
Interest Incurred in that Month = Rs. (100 x 7.1%) / 12 = Rs. 0.591/-
Closing Balance – Rs. 100/- (The Interest in your PPF Account gets credited on an Annual Basis.)
For the 2nd Month –
Opening Balance – Rs. 100/-
Deposit Amount = Rs. 100
Interest Incurred in that Month = Rs. (200 x 7.1%) / 12 = Rs. 1.183/-
Closing Balance – Rs. 200/-
For the 3rd month –
Opening Balance – Rs. 200
Deposit Amount = Rs. 100
Interest Incurred in that Month = Rs. (300 x 7.1%) / 12 = Rs. 1.775/-
Closing Balance – Rs. 300/-
So on and so forth.
And on the 12th Month –
Opening Balance – Rs. 1,100/-
Deposit Amount – Rs. 100/-
Interest Incurred in that Month =Rs. (1,200 x 7.1%) / 12 = Rs. 7.10/-
Whereas if you directly deposit Rs. 1,200/- on the 5th of April and do not contribute a single penny for the whole year, then for each month, you will be earning an interest of Rs. (1,200 x 7.1%) / 12 = Rs. 7.10/- per month.
How To Open a PPF Account?
You can open a PPF Account in a Bank or a Post Office via both the Online and Offline processes. To open a PPF account through the Online process, please visit the portal of your preferred bank or the portal of the Post Office.
Similarities Between an ELSS Mutual Fund and a PPF Account
Though both ELSS and PPF are Tax Saving Instruments, there are very few similarities between ELSS and PPF.
- Both are Tax Saving Instruments.
- Your investment in both instruments gets locked up for a certain period.
- You can claim a tax deduction under Section 80C on your taxable income if you invest in either ELSS or PPF.
- You can Invest in both of the instruments on a regular basis either through SIP or Monthly Deposits. Or you can invest in both instruments on a One-Time basis through Lumpsum Investment.
What Is The Difference Between ELSS Mutual Fund and PPF?
Though both ELSS Mutual Funds and PPF Accounts are used for tax-saving purposes, one should mainly consider Volatility, Market Risk, Lock-in Period, Tax Benefit On Withdrawal, and Contribution Limit while choosing between an ELSS Mutual Fund and a PPF Account.
Other than tax savings under Section 80C, ELSS Mutual Funds and PPF Accounts are completely different from each other.
Difference between ELSS Mutual Fund and PPF
- Volatility and Market Risk – A major portion of an ELSS Mutual Fund’s Portfolio remains invested in the Equity Market, which is why ELSS Mutual Funds are more Volatile and are also subjected to Market Risk. Whereas PPF is a Government-Backed Savings Scheme, so there is very Low Volatility, and the money invested in a PPF Account is not subjected to market risk.
- Returns – Investing through an ELSS Mutual Fund allows you to participate in the Equity Market, so the Return On Your Investment in an ELSS Mutual Fund will always be higher compared to PPF.
Whereas, the Interest Rate of the PPF is set by the Government every quarter.
- Lock-in Period – PPF being less risky comes with a Mandatory Lock-in Period of 15 Years from the date of Opening the PPF Account.
Whereas ELSS, which is more risky and volatile because it is a market-linked Equity Mutual Fund, comes with a Lock-in Period of 3 Years.
- Contribution Limits – In a PPF Account, you cannot deposit more than Rs. 1,50,000/- within a single financial year. But you can invest more than Rs. 1.5 Lakh in an ELSS Mutual Fund but you cannot claim more than Rs. 1.5 Lakh Tax Deduction in a single financial year.
- Tax Benefits – As discussed earlier, both ELSS and PPF provide tax benefits under Section 80C. But PPF falls under EEE or Exempt – Exempt – Exempt Category, which means –
(A) You can claim a Tax Deduction equivalent to the Invested Amount up to the limit under 80C.
(B) Interest earned on that Investment is Tax-Free.
(C) Interest during Withdrawl also remains Tax-Free.
Whereas ELSS falls under the EET or Exempt – Exempt – Taxable Category, which means –
(A) You can claim a Tax Deduction equivalent to the Invested Amount up to the limit under 80C.
(B) The gains you have incurred on your investment remain Tax-Free.
(C) During withdrawal, gains above 1 Lakh Rupees within a year are subjected to 10% Long Term Capital Gains Tax. Gains up to Rs.1 Lakh are tax-free in an ELSS Fund.
- Premature Withdrawal – You can partially withdraw from your PPF Account under certain circumstances after 5 Years from the date of opening your PPF Account. Whereas in the case of ELSS, you cannot withdraw your investment before the completion of 3 years.
- Time Limit – In the case of PPF, you have to remain invested for 15 Years and if you want, you can extend it by 5 more years. You can continue a PPF account for a maximum of 20 Years (15 Years Lock-in + Optional 5 Years Extension) from the date of opening the PPF account.
In the case of an ELSS Mutual Fund, you have to remain invested in an ELSS Mutual Fund for a minimum of 3 years and after that, you can either withdraw your investment or you can let your investment ride the Compounding Wave.
There is no Upper Time Limit in ELSS Mutual Funds.
To finalize this section, we made an easy-to-understand table for you, below.
(Equity Linked Saving Scheme)
(Public Provident Fund)
|Risk||Moderate – High||Very Low|
|Tax Deduction Under 80C||Yes||Yes|
|Lock-in Period||3 Years||15 Years|
|Mandatory Yearly Investment||No||Yes|
|Minimum Investment||Rs. 100/-||Rs. 500/-|
Which Is The Best Way To Save Taxes? ELSS or PPF?
Now let’s try to answer the most crucial question – Which is the best way to save taxes? An ELSS Mutual Fund or a PPF Account?
The answer to this question falls in the irritating category of “It Depends“. It varies from person to person, their age, their risk appetite, and their financial goals.
The returns on your investment in an ELSS Mutual Fund will be high compared to a PPF Account. But Mutual Fund Investing is never as virtually Risk-Free as a PPF Account.
Though ELSS Mutual Funds provide quite high returns compared to a PPF account, the returns are rarely Tax-Free in an ELSS Mutual Fund.
In a PPF Account, your investments get locked up for 15 Years and only in certain situations you are allowed to partially withdraw your money or avail loan against your PPF Account.
Whereas in an ELSS Mutual Fund, if you want, you can take out your Investment + Gains / Losses within just 3 years. Because of this relatively high liquidity, ELSS is becoming more and more popular as an Instrument of Tax Savings.
Now, if the answer varies from case to case, then –
Who Should Invest in ELSS Mutual Funds?
If you have a Long Term Investment Horizon and if you want Returns on your investment similar to that of an Equity Fund and if you want to enjoy Tax Benefits on your Investment then you should invest in an ELSS Mutual Fund.
ELSS being an Equity Linked Tax Saving Mutual Fund, should be used keeping in mind the risks that are associated with Equity Linked investment instruments.
You can mitigate the risk associated with ELSS by investing and remaining invested for a long period. You shouldn’t invest in equity products if you have a Short Investment Horizon. With Long Investment Horizon, one can generate 12 – 15% CAGR or Compounded Annual Growth Rate on their Equity Mutual Fund Investments.
And if you withdraw less than a Lakh in a financial year, you do not have to pay any LTCG or Long Term Capital Gains Tax.
We would suggest our readers always use Direct Mutual Funds, as the Expense Ratio of a Direct Mutual Fund will always be lower than that of a Regular Mutual Fund.
Dividend and Dividend Re-investment options should also be avoided. Taking out monthly dividends severely hampers the effect of compounding, and your investment doesn’t grow at a faster pace. And Dividend Re-investment increases your transaction cost and extends the lock-in period every time the dividends get re-invested.
Direct – Growth Mutual Funds are the best option when it comes to ELSS.
Who Should Invest in a PPF Account?
You should invest in a PPF Account if you want a very Low-Risk tax savings instrument backed by the Indian Government while being satisfied with the returns associated with Low-Risk investment vehicles. And if you don’t need your invested capital for at least 15 years.
PPF being a Government-Backed Saving Scheme, is considered very safe for investing. But with the safety comes the low returns, compared to ELSS Mutual Funds.
As PPF is an EEE-rated investment product, you do not have to pay any Tax when withdrawing your Investment Principal + Interest.
The aim of the Government behind PPF was Retirement Savings. So if your age is 45 Years and you will be retiring at the age of 60, then you should consider PPF as a viable Tax Saving Instrument.
At the moment of writing this article, the Interest Rate of PPF is at 7.10%. Even if we consider an Interest Rate of 6% each year for 15 Years, reaching your annual tax-saving quota of Rs. 1.5 Lakh using PPF might fetch you a handsome amount of money at the end of the 15th Year.
Do you want to see the ‘Number’s Game’?
Ok, as you wish!
How Much Will You Earn By Investing 1.5 Lakh Rupees Per Year In a PPF Account?
If you invest Rs. 12,500/- monthly in a year, you are investing Rs. (12,500 x 12) = Rs. 1.5 Lakh yearly for 15 Years, and you earn only a mere 6% annual interest on your investment. Then on –
In the 1st Year – You would have earned a Total Interest of Rs. 4,831/- on your Invested Capital of Rs. 1.5 Lakh, taking your Total Balance to Rs. 1,54,831/-.
In the 5th Year – You would have earned a Total Interest of Rs. 1,22,800/- on your Invested Capital of Rs. (Rs. 1.5 Lakh x 5 Years) = 7.5 Lakhs, taking your Total Balance to Rs. 8,72,800/-.
In the 10th Year – You would have earned a Total Interest of Rs. 5,40,803/- on your Invested Capital of Rs. (Rs. 1.5 Lakh x 10 Years) = 15 Lakhs, taking your Total Balance to Rs. 20,40,803/-.
In the Final Year – You would have earned a Total Interest of Rs. 13,53,855/- on your Invested Capital of Rs. (Rs. 1.5 Lakh x 15 Years) = 22.5 Lakhs, taking your Total Balance to Rs. 36,03,855/-.
On the 15th Year, your Annual Interest was Rs. 2,00,059/- which is more than your Annual Deposit. This is the Magic of Compounding, which can only be achieved through Long-Term Investing.
And you will be able to withdraw this Rs. 36.03 Lakhs, Totally Tax-Free, after 15 years.
Here is the total calculation.
We suggest to our readers that if your retirement age is in less than 15 Years, then you should consider ELSS Mutual Funds for Tax Savings rather than PPF. Large Cap ELSS Mutual Funds which invest in big, established companies should be on your radar.
It is always good to invest with a Goal in mind.
If your goal is Tax Savings, then the return on that investment should always be your second priority. Mixing Tax Savings with Investments is the root of this confusion.
But unfortunately, most of us are not able to see each goal separately. If you can, then try to keep Investment and Tax Savings separate.
Using Tax Saving Instruments, you are already saving Rs. 1.5 Lakh each year in the form of tax deductions, which if invested properly, can generate a lump sum. Do you still need a hefty return on your Tax Saving Investments?
As it is a subjective view, and we always try to present facts, we won’t drag this point long.
Age plays a very important role when choosing an Investment Vehicle. Follow the simple rule of ‘The More You Age, The More Risk-Averse Your Investment Should Be’ and you will be financially healthy.
At a young age, you are more capable of recovering your losses if your investment decisions went down the hill. The older you get, the hard it becomes to recover.
A long lock-in period is not always bad. It helps you to remain disciplined and not touch your invested money for a certain period. This helps your investment compound without any disturbance.
Should You Invest in ELSS or PPF?
If you are a relatively young, Risk-Taking Investor, who doesn’t like a long Lock-in period on their Tax Saving Investments and understands the risk of investing in an Equity Mutual Fund, then you should invest in an ELSS Mutual Fund. Rest should stick with PPF.
Or, you can ask yourself –
Can I Invest In Both PPF and ELSS?
Yes, you can invest in both PPF and ELSS. There is no such limitation obstructing you from investing in a PPF Account and an ELSS Fund together.
You can divide your annual contribution of 1.5 Lakh Rupees equally among a PPF Account and an ELSS Fund.
Or, if you have a high-risk tolerance and a long investment horizon, you can invest Rs. 50,000/- in a PPF Account and Rs. 1,00,000/- in an ELSS Fund annually.
That was it.
So, we hope after reading this whole article, your confusion on ELSS vs PPF is gone. But if you still have any questions, do let us know in the comment section below and we will try to answer them.
Do share this article with your friends and family if they are also confused about ELSS and PPF.
And also – Sharing is Caring! 🥰
And as usual, in the end, we will say –
Good Luck and Happy Investing! 😊
Disclaimer: The views, investment tips, presumptions, and calculations expressed on Moneypremier.net are not of the website or its management. The article’s author is not responsible for any kind of loss arising from decisions made by the user based on this article. This article is for Educational Purposes only. Moneypremier.net advises users to check with certified experts before making any financial decisions.