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Tax­-saving Mutual Fund FAQs

What is the meaning of ELSS?

ELSS stands for Equity Linked Savings Scheme. These are tax­-saving mutual funds that you can use to save income tax of up to Rs 1.5 lakh under Section 80C. ELSS funds have a lock­-in period of 3 years and invest a majority of their portfolio in the stock market.

How can I invest in ELSS funds?

You can invest in ELSS through the fund company’s website.Investments can be made in lump sum, but the recommended way is through Systematic Investment Plans (SIP) that allow you to average your investment and save you from catching a market peak. Do remember that each SIP is considered to be a fresh investment and every individual SIP carries a lock­-in of 3 years.

Which are the best tax­ saving mutual funds?

There are a number of ELSS funds in the market but the best­ performing ones that are our recommendations are ICICI Prudential Tax Plan, Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96 and Axis Long Term Equity.

Are ELSS funds risky?

ELSS funds don’t guarantee returns because they earn from investments in the equity market.However, the best­ performing funds have displayed the capability of generating inflation­ beating returns over the long­-term. This is something that fixed income tax­ saving investments like PPF and FDs cannot do.

What is the ELSS investment limit?

An ELSS investment can be started with a minimum amount of Rs 500. There is no upper limit on how much you can invest in ELSS funds, but tax-saving can be availed on only a maximum of Rs 1.5 lakh a year.

What are the tax benefits of ELSS funds?

Investments of up to Rs 1.5 lakh in ELSS funds earn a tax rebate under Section 80C every year. The returns generated on the investments are also tax­-free in the hands of the investor after completion of the 3­ year lock­-in period. In case of SIP investments, redemptions can be done on a first­-in­-first­-out basis since each individual SIP has a lock­-in of 3 years.

What is the ELSS investment tenure?

ELSS funds have a lock­-in of 3 years. But you can stay invested in them, with or without further contributions, for as long as you want. You can also stop an ELSS SIP at any point, but the invested amount can be withdrawn only after 3 years.

Who can invest in ELSS funds?

Individuals as well as HUFs can invest in tax­-saving mutual funds. At present, most mutual fund companies do not accept investments from NRIs who are US and Canadian citizens. NRIs living in other countries can invest in ELSS funds.

Can I withdraw from ELSS funds?

ELSS funds do not allow premature redemptions before completion of the 3­ year lock­-in period.

How can I check my ELSS balance?

The mutual fund company sends ELSS investors quarterly statements about the performance of their investments. You can view your investment value even by using the online facilities of the mutual fund company.

Anything else I should know?

ELSS funds have two plan options: growth and dividend. The growth option is the recommended plan for long­-term wealth creation. Under the dividend option, the investor can choose between dividend payout or dividend reinvestment. The dividend received will not be taxable. If you choose dividend reinvestment, it will be treated as a fresh investment and you can claim tax benefit on it as well.

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