Beyond a simple retirement option: How to save taxes through NPS

When you plan your taxes for the next fiscal, consider subscribing to the National Pension System (NPS). It not only helps you build a retirement corpus, it can also help you save an additional ₹15,450 in yearly taxes. Here’s how.

What is NPS?

NPS is a market-linked and defined contribution pension plan that needs you to keep contributing till the age of 60. The minimum annual contribution to the pension account is ₹1,000. In NPS for individuals, you can choose your investment product — government securities, corporate bonds, equities or alternative investment funds. A subscriber can also allocate parts of her contribution to all these options. At the age of 60, you can get up to 60% of this money in a lumpsum, and buy an annuity product with the rest. If you want to exit early, you will need to buy an annuity with 80% of the corpus, which means you can withdraw only 20%. But the rules now allow for partial withdrawals of up to 25% of the contributions for specific purposes. Save tax beyond 80C, Optimize Tax Now!

At present, NPS is subject to exempt, exempt, tax (EET). This means that your money is tax-exempt at the stages of contribution and accumulation, but you will need to pay a tax at the time of withdrawal.

However, withdrawals from the NPS at 60 are tax-exempt if a subscriber withdraws up to 40% of the corpus. The annuity portion of the corpus will be subject to tax as per the applicable tax slab for the subscriber. Partial withdrawals of up to 25% will be tax-exempt from the year 2018-19. This will be in addition to the exemption of 40% of the corpus at the time of withdrawal.

What are the tax benefits of NPS?

Apart from the ₹1.5 lakh deduction limit under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961, an extra deduction of ₹50,000 under Sec 80 CCD(1b) was introduced in 2015.

“An investor in the highest 30% tax bracket can save up to ₹15,450 in tax by investing under this section. This deduction is only available for investment in NPS,” said Sudhir Kaushik, co-founder and CFO, Taxspanner.com, an e-filing and tax services portal. This is in addition to the ₹46,350 that a person in the 30.9% tax bracket can save through investments under Section 80C. Save tax beyond 80C, Optimize Tax Now!

An individual can save tax through NPS in three different ways, Kaushik said. First, she can contribute to the NPS from salary. This will come under the overall tax deduction limit under Section 80C. Secondly, the taxpayer can contribute up to ₹50,000 to the NPS and claim deduction under Sec 80CCD(1b). Third, an employer can contribute up to 10% of the basic salary of an employee in the NPS under Sec 80CCD(2d). The employee can claim a deduction for this amount.

 

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(As Published in Hindustan Times on Mar 24, 2017)