Equity Linked Savings Scheme or ELSS funds are a type of mutual funds whichbase their returns from the equity market. These funds are tax saving in nature and are eligible for a tax deduction of up to Rs1.50 lakhunder Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Below are a few things that an investor must know before investing in ELSS funds.
What is ELSS?
ELSS schemes are a category of mutual funds
promoted by the government in order to encourage long term equity investments. Under this scheme, most of the fund corpus is invested in equities or equity-related products.
Types of ELSS:
There are two categories in ELSS mutual funds i.e. dividend and growth.
The dividend fund is further divided into Dividend Payout and Dividend Reinvestment. If an investor opts fordividend payout option, he receives the dividend which is also tax-free,however,underthe dividend reinvestment option, the dividend is reinvested as a fresh investment to purchase more shares.
Under the growth option, an investor can look for longterm wealth creation. It works like a cumulative option whose full value is realized on redemption of the fund.
How to invest in ELSS?
One can invest in ELSS via two methods i.e. lumpsum or SIP.
SIP or Systematic Investment Plan, is a process where an investor needs to invest a fixed amount of money every month at a specified date. SIP inculcates a disciplined approach towards investing in an investor. SIP also gives the benefit of rupee cost averaging to an investor.
What is the lock-in period in ELSS?
ELSS funds have a lock-in period of three years. Whencompared to EPF, PPF, NSC and other prevalentinvestments under Section 80C, ELSS has the shortest lock-in period.
What is the benefit of tax in ELSS?
The primary purpose of any investment is to gain deductions under income tax for wealth creation. ELSS funds fit that bill perfectly. An investor gets a doubleedged benefit of tax saving and wealth creation at the same time. Dividends earned from ELSS funds are also exempted from tax. ELSS funds also provide the benefit of long term capital gains as they have a lock-in period of three years.
What is the investment limit of ELSS funds?
One can start investing in ELSS mutual funds with a minimum amount of Rs500, and there is no upper limit on how much a person can invest in ELSS funds. However, the tax saving ceiling is only up to a maximum of Rs1,50,000 a year.
What are the risks involved in ELSS funds?
ELSS mutual funds do not have ironclad guarantee over returns, as theygenerate their earnings from investments in the equity market. Nevertheless, some of the best performing ELSS mutual funds have given consistent and inflationbeating returns in the longrun. This quality is not possessed by the other fixed income tax saving investments like PPF andFD.
ELSS mutual fund investment has now become a popular tax saving investment under Section 80C, and it is also ideal for retirement planning and wealth creation coupled with the benefits of lower lock-in period, SIP method of investment, rupee cost averaging risk and no tax on dividends or the benefit of capital gains. ELSS funds should be taken into account by every investor while planning their investment goals.