Table of content

Elss vs Fixed Deposit

Table of content

ELSS Vs Fixed Deposit (FD) - Which is better for Tax Saving?

When it comes to saving taxes in India, Section 80C of the Income Tax Act provides a variety of possibilities. Two popular solutions stand out: Equity Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS) and Fixed Deposits. Both ELSS and FD provide tax benefits, however their operations and benefits differ.

ELSS is a kind of mutual fund that invests largely in equities, whereas an FD is a typical investment in which you deposit money with a bank for a set length of time. Choosing between ELSS and FD might be difficult, but understanding their differences will help you make the best decision.

ELSS has the potential for larger profits because it invests in the stock market, but it also carries more risk. On the other hand, FDs offer stability and guaranteed returns, making them a safer alternative. To figure out which is better, ELSS or FD, evaluate your risk tolerance, investing goals, and needs for liquidity.

In this guide, we'll look at the ELSS vs fixed deposits differences, so you can make an informed decision about which option is better for your tax-saving needs.

Understanding ELSS Funds

Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) is a type of investment that allows you to avoid taxes while continually growing your money. It differs from Fixed Deposits (FDs) and provides certain unique benefits.

ELSS invests your money in the stock market, which means it is utilised to purchase shares in various firms. This makes ELSS slightly riskier than FDs, but it has the potential to provide better returns.

Investing in ELSS provides tax benefits under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Investing in ELSS allows you to reduce the amount of tax you pay. Compared to FDs, ELSS has a shorter lock-in period, allowing you to access your funds sooner. This might be useful if you need your money urgently.

Overall, the choice between ELSS and FDs is based on your objectives and risk tolerance. ELSS may be preferable if you are ready to accept certain risks in order to potentially earn larger returns and save on taxes. If you want a safer alternative with guaranteed returns, FDs may be a better fit for you.

Understanding Fixed Deposits

Fixed deposits, often known as FDs, are a simple and secure method to invest money. Unlike ELSS, which includes stock market investment, FDs allow you to deposit a large sum of money with a bank for a fixed term. This duration can vary, but it is usually between one and five years.

One of the primary benefits of FDs is their simplicity and stability. When you invest in an FD, you know precisely how much interest you will earn throughout the course of the investment. This fixed interest rate is set by the bank and remains constant during the deposit period.

For investors who want a low-risk strategy, FDs might be an appealing alternative. They provide capital protection, which means your initial investment will be protected regardless of market volatility. This makes FDs ideal for cautious investors who choose stability over possibly higher profits.

In terms of tax savings, FDs provide advantages. FD investments, like ELSS, are eligible for tax deductions under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. This implies you may claim tax breaks on the amount invested in FDs, subject to a certain limit.

However, it is critical to examine the trade-offs. While FDs provide security and guaranteed returns, they often yield lower returns than ELSS, particularly over the long term. Additionally, FDs have a lengthier lock-in period, often ranging from one to five years, during which early withdrawals are not permitted.

ELSS vs Tax Saver FD: Which is Better for You?

Let's look at the ELSS vs FD differences to help you determine which is the better option for you.

  • Meaning and Purpose:

    ELSS invests in equities with the goal of increasing their value, whereas Tax Saver FDs are fixed-income bank investments. ELSS seeks better returns from the stock market, while Tax Saver FDs offer consistent returns.
  • Tax Efficiency:

    ELSS provides tax benefits under Section 80C, with returns taxed at a flat 10% rate on profits over Rs. 1 lakh. Tax Saver FDs provide tax savings under the same provision, but are taxed according to the individual's tax bracket.
  • Potential Returns:

    ELSS has historically shown the potential for greater returns, ranging from 14% to 16% over five years. Tax Saver FDs, on the other hand, often provide lower but more consistent yields, ranging from 6% to 7.5%.
  • Lock-in Period:

    ELSS have a three-year lock-in term, whereas Tax Saver FDs require a minimum of five years. This implies you can't withdraw your money before these deadlines.
  • Risks Involved:

    Because of its exposure to stock market volatility, ELSS bears a greater level of risk. In contrast, Tax Saver FDs are thought to be safer since they provide capital protection.
  • Convenience and Flexibility:

    ELSS may be easily initiated online, making it convenient for investors. However, not all banks offer online initiation for Tax Saver FD.
  • Liquidity:

    The ELSS enables withdrawals after three years, which provides some liquidity. However, Tax Saver FDs do not allow for early withdrawals till maturity.
  • Suitability:

    ELSS is better suited for investors who want higher returns and are ready to take on some risk. Tax Saver FDs are better suited to people who value capital protection and stability.
  • Credit Facility:

    ELSS cannot be used as collateral for loans, although Tax Saver FDs can be pledged for overdrafts or loans.

When comparing ELSS vs FD, consider your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investing preferences. If you're ready to take on more risk in exchange for possibly higher returns, ELSS might be a better choice. However, if you value consistency and capital protection, FDs may be the best option for you.

FD vs ELSS - Understanding Tax Implications

When analysing tax-saving investments such as ELSS and Fixed Deposits (FDs), it is critical to understand how the returns are taxed. Both ELSS and FDs provide tax breaks under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. However, the taxation of their returns varies greatly.

ELSS returns are taxed differently than FD returns. While ELSS returns are taxed at a fixed rate of 10% on gains over Rs. 1 lakh, FD returns are taxed based on the individual's tax bracket. This implies that the tax on your ELSS profits is constant at 10% regardless of your income level, but the tax on FD returns varies according to your earnings.

Now, you might wonder, in terms of tax efficiency which is better – ELSS or FD? It depends on your salary and tax bracket. If you're in a higher tax band, ELSS may be more tax-efficient for you due to its set 10% tax rate on profits. On the other hand, if you are in a lower tax band, FDs may be more advantageous because their taxation coincides with your lower tax slab.


Choosing between ELSS and Fixed Deposits for tax savings involves careful evaluation of several criteria, including risk tolerance, investment horizon, and tax efficiency. While ELSS has the potential for better long-term gains, it also carries more risk owing to its exposure to the stock market. Fixed deposits, on the other hand, offer fewer returns while providing capital protection and stability. Finally, the selection should be in accordance with your financial goals and risk tolerance. Consulting with a financial expert may provide vital insights aimed at your circumstances, allowing you to make the best decision for your tax-saving requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

ELSS funds are inherently risky due to their exposure to the stock market. They are best suited to investors who are willing to take on more risk in exchange for possibly larger profits.

Long-term capital gains from ELSS are tax deductible up to Rs. 1 lakh each year. However, profits beyond this level are taxed.

Fixed deposits provide guaranteed returns and are not subject to market volatility, making them a reasonably secure investment choice.

Because ELSS funds are tied to the stock market, there is a risk of loss, particularly during turbulent market conditions. Historically, ELSS funds have generated good long-term returns.

Premature withdrawals are not authorised under ELSS. Before receiving access to their capital, investors must comply with the three-year lock-in term.

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