Tax Saving Mutual Funds in India

Prior to opting for a tax saving mutual fund, it is important that the investor consider certain important factors such as performance, investment style, expenses(entry load & exit load) and other critical parameters. This is done to ensure that the investor will start treating the fund at par with regular diversified equity fund which could lead to improper asset allocation. Despite of the current financial crisis that the market is going through, investors are advised to invest in funds where the underlying assets are mainly equity funds. If you invest in a rising market, the more risk you are willing to take will get you more returns. It means if you have more equity funds in your investment portfolio or if you invest in more aggressive Mutual Fund, you are bound to make money compared to a moderate investor.

The prime criteria that an investor will have to consider prior to opting for a tax saving mutual fund will be the performance of that particular fund in the recent past. Performance is critical parameter, through which a fund must re-deem itself before it could be considered to for investing. Practically all equity linked investments are considered with a 3-5 year period investment horizon. While evaluating the performance of a fund importance on premium on consistency across market phases is to be kept. Opting for tax-saving funds that have put in a reasonable show during the upturns and downturns of the market consistently during the last 5 years (approximately) is a good idea. Volatility and return along with proper investment planning is another important aspect of a mutual fund. Usually it is a fund manager, who determines the performance of a fund in the market. Good returns on Mutual Fund NAV’s (net asset values) can be achieved by pursuing an aggressive investment strategy. Investing in tax-saving funds that have rewarded investors more per unit of risk taken by them is suggested. Managing other costs and expenses like a fund manager’s salary, marketing/advertising costs, administering costs is to be maintained. The cost of investing in a mutual fund is measured by the expense ratio. The ratio represents the percentage of the fund’s assets that go purely towards the cost of running the fund.

According to SEBI (securities & exchange board India), taxes that are implied on your annual salary will be exempted if you invest in tax saving mutual funds. Moreover the returns that you earn aren’t taxable. Tax Saving Mutual Funds in India generally maintain the following rules while granting tax benefits on their schemes: 1) Any special tax benefits for the mutual fund company and its shareholders (only section numbers of the Income Tax Act and their substance should be mentioned, without reproducing the text of the sections). 2) Tax benefits are to be declared under the column of “objects of the offering”.

Some excellent tax saving mutual funds in India are: a) SBI Mutual Funds, b) Prudential ICICI, c) Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund India, d) Standard Chartered Mutual fund India, & e) Bajaj Capital. As stock markets turn more volatile, and the choice of funds increases, it will become pertinent to make the right investment decision to start with. Going forward, & opting to invest in a fund that not only provides you tax relief but also good returns is advisable
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