Tax saving FD's
This is a relatively new kid on the block. Tax saver fixed deposits are issued by banks for a tenure of 5 years and premature withdrawal is not permissible. It generates interest income of 8% with quarterly compounding. The interest income is taxable. If we compare tax saving FD's to NSC, Tax saving FD's have an edge on lock in period which is lesser by one year. However NSC have an edge from the fact that interest accrued is also eligible for 80 C limit for the first five year.
Investment in Equity linked Saving Scheme(ELSS)
ELSS are funds invested primarily in equity shares of companies. They have been in limelight for their superior performance in the recent past and are a popular tax saving investment. Due to their tax saving nature, they are also known as tax saving mutual fund schemes. Like all investment avenues under Section 80C, ELSS funds also involve a certain lock in. In this case the lock in is for three years which means that they cannot be withdrawn for a period of three years from the date of investment. The ELSS Fund manager basically invest 80% of the total amount in the equity shares and the remaining 20% is invested in other instruments like bonds, debentures, government securities and others.
However the basic risk with ELSS scheme is that since it has a considerable equity exposure, the returns are linked to market returns and hence there is no guarantee of returns and even capital. At the same time, ELSS can also be seen as a way to long term investing in equity markets and with India growth story unfolding and fundamentals looking intact, investment experts anticipate that equities would continue to outperform other investing avenues for at least next 5-7 years. Investing in ELSS provides dual benefit of capitalizing on superior returns as well as tax saving. With the current market turmoil avoid this instrument unless you are looking for a long term investment. If that is the case look for good fund managers with stellar tax records.