ELSS or Equity Linked Savings Schemes are Mutual fund investment schemes that help you save income tax. That’s why they are also known as tax-saving funds. The Income Tax Act, under section 80c, allows taxpayers to invest up to INR 1.5 lakh in specific securities and claim it as a deduction from their taxable income. One of the approved securities is ELSS– others include PPF, postal savings like NSC, tax-saving FDs, NPS, etc.

Features of ELSS Mutual Funds

Here are some of the key features of an ELSS fund

  • ELSS funds invest a large percentage of their portfolio in equity.
  • They have a compulsory lock-in period of 3 years, which is the shortest amongst all tax saving instruments.
  • You enjoy the dual benefits of capital appreciation from investments in equity along with tax-saving
  • You can opt for dividend pay-outs if you wish to receive regular income or go with the growth option for capital appreciation
  • ELSS Mutual Funds do not have any entry or exit load.
  • Good ELSS Funds generate returns in the range of 10-12 per cent in the long run, among the highest in the tax-saving category of instruments. However, ELSS also comes with some risk, inherent in equity investments

How to invest in ELSS

You can invest in ELSS the same way that you invest in any Mutual Fund. The easiest way is through an Online Investment Services Account. You can invest either as a lump sum or via the SIP (systematic investment plan) route.

SIP ensures regularity and discipline and reduces the risk to capital

You can invest as little as INR 500 in an ELSS fund

While you can claim tax benefit only up to INR 1.5 lakh, you are free to invest as much as you like.

How does ELSS compare with other Tax Saving instruments?

Name of Instrument Lock In period Returns Tax on Returns
ELSS 3 Years 10-12% LTCG Tax
Tax-Saving FD 5 years 6-7% Income Tax
National Saving Certificate (NSC) 5 years 7-8% Income Tax
Public Provident Fund (PPF) 15 years 7-8% No
National Pension System (NPS) Up to age 60 8-10% Partially Taxable

As is evident, ELSS funds fare far better than other tax saving instruments, with the lowest lock-in period (3 years) and better returns. They are also tax-efficient.

If you are seeking a good tax-saving investment option, ELSS Mutual Funds are a great choice.

* Mutual Funds are subjected to market risks. The information provided in this article is generic in nature and for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for specific advice in your own circumstances. You are recommended to obtain specific professional advice from before you take any/refrain from any action.