The Public Provident Fund (PPF) is a popular long-term investment scheme in India that offers attractive returns, tax benefits, and financial security. If you’re considering investing in PPF or already have an account, it’s essential to understand its key features, rules, and benefits. In this article, we present 10 important things you should know about the Public Provident Fund to help you make informed decisions and maximize the advantages offered by this investment avenue.
1. Long-term investment:
The PPF is designed for long-term investment, with a maturity period of 15 years. This encourages individuals to save consistently over an extended period, promoting financial discipline and building a substantial corpus for future needs, such as retirement.
2. Tax benefits:
Contributions made to the PPF account are eligible for tax deductions under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Currently, the maximum deduction allowed is Rs. 1.5 lakh per financial year. Furthermore, the interest earned and the maturity amount are tax-free, making PPF an excellent choice for tax planning.
3. Fixed interest rates:
The interest rates on PPF are determined by the government and are revised quarterly. These rates are typically higher than those offered by regular savings accounts or fixed deposits. The interest is compounded annually and credited to the account at the end of each financial year.
4. Contribution limits:
Investors can deposit a minimum of Rs. 500 and a maximum of Rs. 1.5 lakh per financial year in their PPF account. It is not mandatory to deposit the maximum amount every year, and investors have the flexibility to invest as per their financial capabilities.
5. Lock-in period:
The PPF has a lock-in period of 15 years. However, partial withdrawals are allowed from the seventh year onwards, subject to certain conditions. This lock-in period ensures that the funds remain invested for the long term, facilitating wealth creation through compounding.
6. Account extension:
After the completion of the initial 15-year tenure, investors have the option to extend their PPF account in blocks of five years. This extension can be done indefinitely, providing individuals with the opportunity to continue earning tax-free returns on their investments.
PPF accounts can be transferred from one authorized bank or post office to another, anywhere in India. This feature offers convenience and flexibility for investors who may need to relocate or change their account-holding institution.
8. Nomination facility:
Investors can nominate one or more individuals to receive the accumulated PPF amount in the event of their demise. This ensures that the investment and its benefits pass on to the intended beneficiaries without any legal complexities.
9. Loans against PPF:
From the third year of opening the account until the sixth year, investors are eligible to avail of loans against their PPF balance. The loan amount can be up to 25% of the balance at the end of the second year. The interest charged on the loan is relatively low, making it a convenient option for meeting urgent financial requirements.
10. Opening accounts for minors:
Parents or legal guardians can open PPF accounts on behalf of minors. This allows for early financial planning and long-term wealth creation for the child’s future. The account ownership can be transferred to the child once they reach the age of 18.
Understanding the key aspects of the Public Provident Fund (PPF) is crucial for individuals seeking secure long-term investment options and tax benefits. With its fixed interest rates, tax advantages, and flexibility, PPF provides an excellent avenue for wealth creation, retirement planning, and financial security. By familiarizing yourself with these ten important facts about PPF, you can make informed decisions and maximize the benefits offered by this popular investment scheme.