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Top Short-Term Investment Options for Tax Savings in India (2024)

Choose Best Short Term Plan to SaveTax

Tax season in India can be daunting, but it also presents an opportunity to save a significant portion of your hard-earned income. While long-term investment plans are crucial for retirement planning, short-term investment options can play a vital role in maximizing your tax benefits. This article explores the best short-term investment plans available in India (as of 2024) to help you reduce your tax liability and achieve your short-term financial goals.

Understanding Tax Savings in India

Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961, allows for deductions on investments made towards specific schemes. By investing in these plans, you can reduce your taxable income, thereby lowering your tax liability.

Top Short-Term Investment Options for Tax Saving

1. Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS)

  • Features: Equity Linked Saving Schemes are mutual fund schemes that invest a significant portion of your money in the stock market. They offer the potential for high returns compared to other tax-saving options. However, they also carry inherent market risks.
  • Investment Horizon: While ELSS comes with a mandatory lock-in period of 3 years, it's generally considered a good fit for investors with a slightly longer-term horizon (ideally 5+ years) to potentially ride out market volatility and benefit from potential long-term capital appreciation. However, for strictly short-term goals within the 3-year lock-in period, other options might be more suitable.
  • Tax Benefits: Investments up to Rs. 1.5 lakh qualify for tax deduction under Section 80C. Additionally, capital gains from ELSS held for more than 1 year are taxed at a concessional rate of 10% (subject to change).

2. Public Provident Fund (PPF)

  • Features: Public Provident Fund is a government-backed scheme offering guaranteed returns and high security. PPF contributions are compounded annually, leading to a good corpus over time.
  • Investment Horizon: PPF has a lock-in period of 15 years, with partial withdrawals allowed after the initial 5 years. This makes it a less suitable option for strictly short-term goals within 3 years.
  • Tax Benefits: Investments up to Rs. 1.5 lakh qualify for tax deduction under Section 80C. The interest earned and the maturity amount are also tax-free (subject to change).

3. National Savings Certificate (NSC)

  • Features: Similar to PPF, National Savings Certificate is a government-backed savings scheme offering guaranteed returns. NSCs come in various maturity periods, with the shortest being 5 years.
  • Investment Horizon: While the 5-year maturity option makes NSC a viable choice for short-term goals exceeding 3 years, it's less suitable for even shorter timeframes.
  • Tax Benefits: Investments up to Rs. 1.5 lakh qualify for tax deduction under Section 80C. The interest earned on NSC is taxable, but interest reinvested can potentially qualify for additional tax benefits (subject to change).

4. Tax Saver Fixed Deposits (FDs)

  • Features: Fixed deposits offered by banks specifically for tax saving purposes. They offer guaranteed returns with minimal risk.
  • Investment Horizon: Tax saver FDs typically come with lock-in periods ranging from 3 to 5 years. While some banks might offer shorter terms, they might not qualify for tax benefits.
  • Tax Benefits: Investments up to Rs. 1.5 lakh qualify for tax deduction under Section 80C. The interest earned on tax saver FDs is taxable (subject to change).

5. Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) with a Short-Term Focus

  • Features: ULIPs combine life insurance coverage with investment potential in market-linked funds. While offering the potential for higher returns compared to FDs or PPF, they also carry market risks. Some ULIPs might have shorter premium payment terms (e.g., 3 years) which can be a suitable option for short-term financial goals.
  • Investment Horizon: Carefully consider the lock-in period and surrender charges associated with ULIPs before choosing this option. Not all ULIPs are suitable for short-term savings due to potential surrender charges.
  • Tax Benefits: Investments up to Rs. 1.5 lakh qualify for tax deduction under Section 80C. Partial withdrawals from ULIPs after a specific period (as per plan terms) might be tax-free (subject to change). However, be mindful of potential surrender charges that could negate the tax.

Choosing the Right Option for You

Selecting the best short-term investment plan for tax savings depends on your individual circumstances. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Investment Horizon: Match your investment horizon with the lock-in period of the chosen plan. For strictly short-term goals within 3 years, options like Tax Saver FDs with a 3-year term or debt-oriented ULIPs with a short premium payment term might be suitable.
  • Risk Tolerance: If you are risk-averse and prioritize guaranteed returns, PPF, NSC, or Tax Saver FDs are good choices. ELSS offers higher growth potential but also carries market risks.
  • Tax Benefits: All the mentioned options qualify for tax deduction under Section 80C. However, consider the tax implications on interest earned or maturity amount for different plans.
  • Financial Goals: Align your chosen plan with your short-term financial goals. Are you saving for a down payment on a car (3-5 years)? Or perhaps a vacation (within 2 years)? Matching the maturity or lock-in period with your goal ensures access to funds when you need them.

Maximizing Tax Savings Beyond Section 80C

While Section 80C offers a significant deduction limit, explore other avenues to further reduce your tax liability:

  • Health Insurance Premiums: Premiums paid for health insurance for yourself, spouse, and dependent parents are deductible under Section 80D.
  • Employee Provident Fund (EPF) Contributions: Your EPF contribution and your employer's matching contribution are tax-exempt.
  • Interest on Home Loan: The interest component of your home loan repayment is deductible up to a certain limit under Section 24.


By understanding your short-term financial goals, risk tolerance, and available investment options, you can choose the most suitable plan for tax savings in India. Remember, a well-planned tax-saving strategy not only reduces your tax burden but also helps you achieve your financial goals. Don't hesitate to consult a financial advisor for personalized guidance if needed.

Suggested Plans

Bharti AXA Life Shining Stars

  • Non-linked, non-participating limited pay endowment Life Insurance plan
  • Designed to take care of the financial needs of your child.
  • Flexibility to opt between 2 Maturity Payout Options
  • Flexibility in Policy Term/Premium Payment Terms
  • A great short-term investment option for a child insurance policy.

Bharti AXA Life Guaranteed Income Pro

  • A Non-Linked, Non-Participating Individual Life Insurance Savings Plan
  • 4 Income options to choose
  • Guaranteed 10% Addition of Annualised Premium (as per the terms and conditions of the policy)
  • Get all your premiums back at the end of the payout period under Long Term Income and Deferred Income variants
  • Flexibility to choose premium payment term or policy term