National Savings Certificate

A Government of India initiative, the National Savings Certificate (NSC) is a fixed-income investment scheme that you can open easily with any post office.

What is National Savings Certificate

National Savings Certificate is a savings bond scheme that encourages subscribers, primarily small to mid-income investors, to invest while saving on income tax under Section 80C.

Features & Benefits of NSC

Here are some of the significant features of NSC scheme-

  • Interest Rates : The certificates earn an annual fixed interest, which is revised every quarter by the government, thus guaranteeing a regular income for the investor.

  • Maturity Period : The scheme originally had two types of certificates – NSC VIII Issue (5 year tenure) and NSC IX Issue (10 year tenure). With the discontinuation of the latter in December 2015, only the former issue is available for subscription.

  • Tax Saver: As a government-backed tax-saving scheme, the principal invested in NSC qualifies for tax savings under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs annually.

  • Investment Flexibility : You can invest as small as Rs. 100 as an initial investment with no maximum limit.

  • Accessible: It can be easily bought from any post office on submission of required KYC documents. Also, it is easy to transfer the certificate from one PO to another as well as from one person to another without impacting the interest accrual/maturity of the original certificate.

  • Loan Collaterals: NSC certificates are accepted as collateral or security for secured loans in Banks and NBFCs. In such a case, a transfer stamp is put on the certificate and transferred to the bank while disbursing loans.

  • Power of Compounding: Interest earned gets compounded annually and reinvested by default but will be payable only at maturity.

  • Nomination: The investor can nominate any family member (even a minor) so that they can inherit it in the case of an unfortunate event of the investor’s demise.

  • Corpus on Maturity: The investor will receive the entire corpus value on maturity. As there is no TDS on NSC payouts, the subscriber should pay the applicable tax on it while filing his Income tax returns or paying his advance tax.

  • Premature Withdrawal: Generally, one cannot exit the scheme early except on the death of an investor, on a court order, or on forfeiture by a pledgee who is a Gazetted Government Officer for it.

Who Should Invest in NSC?

The NSC offers guaranteed interest and complete capital protection, just like some other fixed income instruments - Public Provident Fund and Post Office FDs. However, they cannot deliver inflation-beating returns like tax saving Mutual Funds and National Pension Systems.

Basically, the Government has promoted the National Savings Certificate as a savings scheme for Indian individual citizens.

Eligibility Criteria for NSC

Below is the list of NSC eligibility criteria that are required to invest in NSCs-

  • Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), Trusts, Private and public limited companies are not eligible to invest in NSC.

  • The individual must be an Indian citizen. Non-resident Indians (NRIs) are not eligible to invest in NSC.

  • There is no age limit for individuals in order to purchase a certificate.

How to Invest in NSC?

You can invest in NSC through online and offline modes. Here is the procedure-

Steps to Invest in NSC Offline

To invest in NSC offline, follow the listed steps:  

Step 1: Collect the NSC application form online or at any post office. 

Step 2: Fill out the form with all the details. 

Step 3: Submit the form with self-attested copies of the required KYC documents.  

Step 4: Take the original documents for verification and pay the amount you want to invest.

Step 5: Upon approval, collect the NSC of your application.  

Steps to Apply for NSC Online

Step 1: Open Department of Posts (DOP) net banking and log in. 

Step 2: Under 'General Services', select 'Service Requests'. 

Step 3: Click on 'New Requests' and choose ‘NSC Account – Open an NSC Account (For NSC)’. 

Step 4: Enter the deposit amount and choose the debit account linked to the PO savings account. 

Step 5: Choose ‘Click Here’ to run through the terms and conditions. Accept them once done. 

Step 6: Enter the transaction password and click on ‘Submit’. 

Step 7: The deposit receipt will be there to view and download. 

Step 8: Login and click on 'Accounts' to view the details of your NSC account.

Documents Required to Apply for NSC

Below are the documents required to be submitted in order to invest in  an NSC-

  • The NSC application form.
  • Investors to provide an original identification proof such 
    • Passport
    • Permanent Account Number (PAN Card)
    •  Voter ID
    •  Driving licence
    •  Senior Citizen ID, or Government ID for verification.
  • Photograph.
  • Address proof like electricity bill, Passport, telephone bill, bank statement along with a cheque.

NSC Tax Benefits 

Though there is no maximum limit on the purchase of NSCs, only investments of up to Rs 1.5 lakh annually can earn the subscriber tax savings under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. 

Additionally, the interest earned on NSC annually, for the 1st 4 years are deemed to be reinvested ( ie. added back to the initial investment) and hence, also eligible for a tax break, subject to the overall annual limit of 1.5 lakh. However, the interest earned in the 5th year is not re-invested hence taxable as per the investor’s applicable slab rate.

Currently, the NSC interest rate is 7.7% , which is applicable for the current quarter. 

Duplicate National Savings Certificates Issue

If your original NSC certificate is lost, stolen, destroyed, damaged, or mutilated, you can request a replica.

Simply fill out the Duplicate Savings Certificates form and return it to the post office that issued the NSC that needs to be replaced.

The form's key fields are as follows-

  • Details about the certificate(s), such as serial numbers, denominations, NSC issue, and so on.

  • The date the certificates were purchased.

Along with other information, the purpose for applying for a duplicate certificate must be stated.

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