Returns, Features and Advantages of NSC from Indian Post Office

national savings certificateWhat is National Savings Certificate?
National Savings Certificates (NSC) are certificates issued by Department of post, Government of India and are available at all post office counters in the country. This scheme is specially designed for Government employees, Businessmen and other salaried classes who are IT assesses. It is a long term safe savings option for the investor. Trust and HUF cannot invest. The scheme combines growth in money with reductions in tax liability as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The duration of a NSC scheme is 6 years.

 

Features
NSCs are issued in denominations of Rs 100, Rs 500, Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 for a maturity period of 6 years. There is no prescribed upper limit on investment.

Individuals, singly or jointly or on behalf of minors and trust can purchase a NSC by applying to the Post Office through a representative or an agent. 

One person can be nominated for certificates of denomination of Rs. 100- and more than one person can be nominated for higher denominations.

The certificates are easily transferable from one person to another through the post office. There is a nominal fee for registering the transfer. They can also be transferred from one post office to another.

One can take a loan against the NSC by pledging it to the RBI or a scheduled bank or a co-operative society, a corporation or a government company, a housing finance company approved by the National Housing Bank etc with the permission of the concerned post master.

Though premature encashment is not possible under normal course, under sub-rule (1) of rule 16  it is possible after the expiry of three years from the date of purchase of certificate.

Tax benefits are available on amounts invested in NSC under section 88, and exemption can be claimed under section 80L for interest accrued on the NSC. Interest accrued for any year can be treated as fresh investment in NSC for that year and tax benefits can be claimed under section 88. 

Investment up to Rs. 1,00,000/- per annum qualifies for IT Rebate under section 80C of IT Act.

Return
It is having a high interest rate at 8% compounded half yearly. Post maturity interest will be paid for a maximum period  of 24 months at the rate  applicable to individual savings account.  A Rs1000  denomination certificate will increase to Rs. 1601 on completion of 6 years.

Interest rates for the NSC Certificate of Rs 1000

Year Rate of Interest
1 year Rs 81.60
2 year Rs 88.30
3 year Rs 95.50
4 years Rs103.30
5 years Rs 111.70
6 years Rs 120.80

Advantages
Tax benefits are available on amounts invested in NSC under section 88, and exemption can be claimed under section 80L for interest accrued on the NSC. Interest accrued for any year can be treated as fresh investment in NSC for that year and tax benefits can be claimed under section 88. NSCs can be transferred from one person to another through the post office on the payment of a prescribed fee. They can also be transferred from one post office to another. The scheme has the backing of the Government of India so there are no risks associated with your investment.

How to start?
Any individual or on behalf of minors and trust can purchase a NSC by applying to the Post Office through a representative or an agent. Payments can be made in cash, cheque or DD or by raising a debit in the savings account held by the purchaser in the Post Office. The issue of certificate will be subject to the realization of the cheque, pay order, DD. The date of the certificate will be the date of realization or encashment of the cheque. If a certificate is lost, destroyed, stolen or mutilated, a duplicate can be issued by the post-office on payment of the prescribed fee.

National Savings Certificate Snapshot

  • national savings certificateMinimum investment Rs. 500/- No maximum limit.
  • Rate of interest 8% compounded half yearly.
  • Rs. 1000/- grow to Rs. 1601/- in six years.
  • Two adults, Individuals, and minor through guardian can purchase.
  • Companies, Trusts, Societies and any other Institutions not eligible to purchase.
  • Non-resident Indian/HUF can not purchase.
  • No pre-mature encashment.
  • Annual interest earned is deemed to be reinvested and qualifies for tax rebate for first 5 years under section 80 C of Income Tax Act.
  • Maturity proceeds not drawn are eligible to Post Office Savings account interest for a maximum period of two years.
  • Facility of reinvestment on maturity.
  • Certificate can be pledged as security against a loan to banks/ Govt. Institutions.
  • Facility of encashment of certificates through banks.
  • Certificates are encashable any Post office in India before maturity by way of transfer to desired post office.
  • Certificates are transferable from one Post office to any Post office.
  • Certificates are transferable from one person to another person before maturity.
  • Duplicate Certificate can be issued for lost, stolen, destroyed, mutilated or defaced certificate.
  • Nomination facility available.
  • Facility of purchase/payment to the holder of Power of attorney.
  • Tax Saving instrument – Rebate admissible under section 80 C of Income Tax Act.
  • Interest income is taxable but no TDS
  • Deposits are exempt from Wealth tax.

A to Z of National Savings Certificate (NSC) from Indian Post Office

NSC detailsThe reliable National Savings Certificate (NSC) looks like it may have lost popularity with countless competing investment options available such as equities, mutual funds, unit linked insurance and fixed maturity plans. However, there is no ignoring the instrument’s respectable returns, which are not only assured, but also tax-exempt (under 80C) and government guaranteed.

Compared with the NSC, the Public Provident Fund (PPF) has traditionally been more popular on account of its 8% tax-free interest. However, the PPF has a maximum investment limit of Rs 1,00,000 per annum (this means the maximum amount one can invest in PPF every year is capped at Rs 1,00,000).

Investment limit

NSCs do not have a limit of how much one can invest. What’s more, interest up to Rs 1 lakh is tax-free. You read that correctly. NSCs offer you the possibility of earning up to Rs 1 lakh fully tax-free.

 

This is because NSC is the only small saving scheme wherein not only the initial deposit, but also the interest for the first five years, out of its term of six years, is eligible for a deduction under section 80C.

 

Interest and returns

NSC offers 8% interest compounded half-yearly. Due the compounding, the effective rate per annum works out to 8.16%. It is a cumulative scheme with a term of six years, meaning, though the interest accrues every year, it is paid to the investor together with the initial capital invested at the end of six years. For example, Rs 10,000 invested in NSC today will grow to Rs 16,010 at the end of six years.

 

Tax treatment

Let’s talk about the tax treatment of the interest paid out . Unlike PPF, where the full amount of interest is tax-free, NSC interest is taxable. However, as it is a cumulative scheme (eg interest is not paid to the investor but instead accumulates in the account), each year’s interest for the first 5 years is considered reinvested in the NSC. Since it is deemed reinvested, it qualifies for a fresh deduction under Sec 80C, thereby making it tax-free. Only the final year’s interest, when the NSC matures, does not receive a tax deduction as it does not get reinvested, but is paid back to the investor along with the interest of the earlier years and the capital amount.

 

Illustration

Example: You invest Rs 1,00,000 in an NSC on April 1, 2010. Interest on this investment for each year is shown in the following table:

  

April 1, 2010 Initial investment 100,000
Mar 31, 2011 interest for Yr 1:   8,160
Mar 31, 2012 interest for Yr 2:   8,830
Mar 31, 2013 interest for Yr 3:   9,550
Mar 31, 2014 interest for Yr 4:   10,330
Mar 31, 2015 interest for Yr 5:   11,170
Mar 31, 2016 interest for Yr 6:   12,070
Total interest 60,110
Total value of investment:   1,60,110

  

What you must ensure while filing tax return

To benefit from this feature of reinvested interest and its deduction, it is important to declare the accrued interest on NSC on a yearly basis in your tax return. In the above example, for FY 10-11, you will include the interest amount of Rs 8,160 in your tax return under the head “Income from Other Sources”. Under deductions, you will claim Rs 8,160 under Sec 80C as reinvested NSC interest. Both cancel each other out, making the interest in effect tax-free.

  

Important detail:

From the above discussion, it is shown that both NSC and PPF interest is tax-free. However, the difference is that PPF interest is tax-free per se, whereas the NSC interest becomes tax-free on account of the deemed reinvestment under Sec 80C. Remember that Section 80C has a limit of Rs 1 lakh. Your NSC interest would only qualify for the deduction provided you have funds left in Sec 80C. Provident fund contributions, insurance premiums, housing loan principal repayments, tuition fees, PPF, tax saving mutual funds and bank deposits — not to mention any fresh investment in NSC — are also covered under the same Rs 1 lakh limit. So, if you want to invest and take advantage of the tax-saving feature of NSC interest, remember to make the adjustment so far as the other tax-saving investments are concerned.

    

Where and how to buy?

National Savings Certificates (NSC) are certificates issued by Department of post, Government of India and are available at most post offices in the country in denominations of Rs 100, Rs 500, Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000. NSCs can also be transferred from one person to another by paying a small fee. They can also be transferred from one post office to another.