Looking to make investments that can also offer tax benefits? Then you might be confused about choosing between ELSS or PPF. Which one of these can give better returns in the long term? Which is less risky? Which is more flexible?

If these are the questions you were looking for, here is everything that you will ever need to know about the long-standing debate, PPF or ELSS and which is the best option for you?

It is very important for a person to not just save but also invest his/her savings in a right manner in order to ensure optimum results. Since taxes can reduce a substantial part of your income, here we take a look at two of the most talked about tax-efficient investment options, PPF or ELSS, and see which one is the best for you.

PPF or ELSS: Which Is The Best Option For You?

If you are looking to make investments in order to save tax, then you might have come across Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. This particular section offers a tax deduction for investments which are made in certain financial instruments like Public Provident Fund (PPF), Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS), National Pension Scheme (NPS), Tax saving FD, etc. While each of these investments has different features, one thing remains common – tax benefits. Aligning one or more of these investments can offer a dual benefit of wealth creation as well as tax saving.

How To Save Tax (PPF or ELSS)
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However, Equity Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS) and Public Provident Funds (PPF) are two of the most popular investments when it comes to tax savings under Section 80C. Thus, despite being quite different, these two are often compared to each other.

Let’s test both these tax saving investment schemes on various parameters.

PPF or ELSS: The Risk Involved

Since Public Provident Fund is backed by the Government of India, thus PPF is considered safe.

Since ELSS are equity fund, the investments are subjected to market risks.

PPF or ELSS: Returns

The Government announces rate of interest for PPF every year. It is usually between 7-8% p.a.

Being market-linked, returns can vary for ELSS depending on the scheme selected but on an average, returns are usually between of 12-14%.

Also Read: Key Points To Remember Before Investing In ELSS

PPF or ELSS: Tax Benefits

PPF investments are exempt from taxes on investment, accumulation as well as withdrawal.

ELSS investments are also exempt from taxes at investment and accumulation but not at the withdrawal as the Union Budget 2018 has introduced a 10 percent tax on long-term capital gains of over Rs 1 lakh.

PPF or ELSS: Lock-In Period

PPF comes with a lock-in period of 15 years. However, after the fifth year, partial withdrawals are permitted.

ELSS investments come with a lock-in period of 3 years with no option of premature withdrawals.

PPF or ELSS: Investment Limit

PPF: An investor can invest anything between ₹500 to ₹150,000 in a financial year, with options of either a lump sum payment or in 12 installments.

ELSS: An investor can invest as much as he/she wants. However, tax deductions will be limited to ₹150,000 in a financial year under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.

Also Read: Facts About PPF Investments

PPF or ELSS: Which One To Choose?

Opt For PPF, If,

  • You can’t take risks and wants maximum security.
  • You can wait for 15 long years while investing regularly and are near to your retirement age.

Opt For ELSS, If,

  • You are ready to take risks and can invest for several years
  • You understand the share market and your retirement age is very far.

These are the parameters that will help you decide whether you should invest in PPF or ELSS. However, there is a mid-way as well.

You can invest a big chunk of your savings in PPF which will give your portfolio a stability and will act as a retirement corpus for you. Simultaneously, you can invest small amounts in Equity Linked Savings Scheme which will give you an opportunity to earn share market return.

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