PPF still remains one of the best investment avenues for the risk-averse investors and the common man. Here are a few things you need to know about this plan.
There are so many investment avenues currently available in the Indian market. However, Public Provident Fund (PPF) still remains one of the best investment products for the common man as well as risk-averse investors. The reason is that apart from providing decent returns, the scheme also gives income tax benefits which are provided by only a limited number of other investment avenues.
Another advantage of PPF is that a PPF account can easily be opened in both post offices and banks, and even online in some of the banks providing the facility of PPF. You only need to visit a bank branch for getting the application verified and stamped.
If you are willing to open a PPF account, here are 10 things you need to know about PPF:
1. Eligibility: A PPF account can be opened in a post office or a bank by an individual in his own name as well as on behalf of a minor. However, as per rules, a PPF account can’t be opened in the name of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF). Also, a joint account can’t be opened.
2. Investment Limits: The minimum amount needed for opening a PPF account is Rs 100. However, one needs to deposit a minimum of Rs 500 in a financial year, while the maximum investment limit has been fixed at Rs 150,000 per annum. The amount can be deposited in a maximum of 12 installments per annum or in a lump sum.
3. Duration of Scheme: The maturity period of a PPF account is 15 years, but the period can be extended for one or more blocks of 5 years each within one year of maturity.
4. Nomination Facility: This facility is available at the time of opening a PPF account and also after opening it, in the name of one or more persons.
5. Transfer of PPF Account: A PPF account can be transferred from one post office to another or from a post office to bank or from a bank to another bank at the request of the account holder. No charges are levied for this service.
6. Loans and Withdrawals: Loans and withdrawals from a PPF account are allowed as per the age of the account as well as the balances as on the specified dates. Normally one can avail a loan from the 3rd financial after opening a PPF account, while withdrawals are permissible every year from the seventh fiscal year from the year of opening the account.
7. Tax Benefits: Deposits made in a PPF account qualify for deduction from one’s income u/s 80C of the Income Tax Act. Even the interest income is totally tax free, while no tax is levied on the maturity amount. Thus, with its EEE (Exempt Investment, Exempt Return, Exempt Maturity or Withdrawal) benefit, PPF has become one the best tax-saving investment options in India today.
8. Rate of Interest: The rate of interest of PPF is determined by the government on quarterly basis. Currently the rate of interest is 7.6 per cent per annum w.e.f. 01.01.2018.
9. Premature Withdrawals: Premature withdrawals from a PPF account can be done as per the applicable rules.
10. Premature Closure: Premature closure of a PPF account before 15 years is not allowed in normal cases. However, a PPF account can be closed prematurely on some specified grounds such as higher education needs or medical emergencies, but the account cannot be closed before 5 years even in case of exigencies.