Top 10 Mutual Fund (ELSS) schemes to save taxes

Top-10-Mutual-Funds-ELSS-Schemes

The main purpose of investing for most investors is tax saving. Equity linked saving schemes (ELSS) are those mutual fund schemes that help you save taxes as well as generate decent returns. But, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Here is a list of few ELSS schemes that you should consider for investing.

The true measure of ELSS scheme’s worth is consistency. Following four ELSS schemes make the cut based on their 5 years, 3 years and 1 year performance put together (see tables). These schemes have remained in the Top 10 ELSS schemes for all these durations :

  • Canara Robeco Equity Tax Saver
  • HDFC Taxsaver
  • Sahara Tax Gain
  • Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96

Investment in ELSS schemes qualify for deductions under section 80C. So, you could max your returns by investing the entire Rs 1 lakh limit of your Section 80C deductions through ELSS investments alone. However, be cautious as ELSS schemes have a risk grade higher than other investments that qualify under section 80C such as life insurance, PPF, NSC, etc.

Another important factor to consider is the lock-in period. ELSS schemes have a 3 year lock-in, that means you can not sell the investment before this period.

Top 10 Tax Saving Mutual Funds (ELSS)

The following 3 tables lists the Top 10 ELSS Schemes in descending order of their 5 years, 3 years and 1 year returns. This may help you in selecting the best ELSS scheme for your needs.

ELSS Schemes Ranking based on 5 Year Returns

Rank

Fund Name

Return (%)

NAV for Plan

NAV as on Date

1 Year

3 Year

5 Year

Dividend

Growth

1

Magnum Taxgain

93.29

10.05

32.03

44.4

59.05

11-Jan-2010

2

Canara Robeco Equity Tax Saver

97.08

19.21

28.82

20.29

22.28

11-Jan-2010

3

Sundaram BNP Paribas Taxsaver

81.83

15.64

28.04

15.03

43.92

11-Jan-2010

4

HDFC Taxsaver

106.03

11.2

27.09

62.36

200.48

11-Jan-2010

5

Sahara Tax Gain

96.88

16.63

25.99

18.99

33.33

11-Jan-2010

6

ICICI Prudential Tax Plan

120.85

9.38

24.52

18.51

124.12

11-Jan-2010

7

Franklin India Taxshield

86.18

13.3

23.67

32.85

181.84

11-Jan-2010

8

Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96

111.64

10.74

22.39

88.66

10.99

11-Jan-2010

9

Franklin India Index Tax

79.82

9.33

21.39

40.2

n/a

11-Jan-2010

10

Principal Personal Tax Saver

93.44

9.76

21.22

91.44

n/a

11-Jan-2010

ELSS Schemes Ranking based on 3 Year Returns

Rank

Fund Name

Return (%)

NAV for Plan

NAV as on Date

1 Year

3 Year

5 Year

Dividend

Growth

1

Taurus Tax Shield

106.56

22.69

18.84

23.93

32.76

11-Jan-2010

2

Canara Robeco Equity Tax Saver

97.08

19.21

28.82

20.29

22.28

11-Jan-2010

3

Sahara Tax Gain

96.88

16.63

25.99

18.99

33.33

11-Jan-2010

4

Sundaram BNP Paribas Taxsaver

81.83

15.64

28.04

15.03

43.92

11-Jan-2010

5

Religare Tax Plan

91.49

15.54

n/a

12.86

15.53

11-Jan-2010

6

Fidelity Tax Advantage

91.58

14.11

n/a

16.61

18.5

11-Jan-2010

7

Franklin India Taxshield

86.18

13.3

23.67

32.85

181.84

11-Jan-2010

8

HDFC Taxsaver

106.03

11.2

27.09

62.36

200.48

11-Jan-2010

9

Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96

111.64

10.74

22.39

88.66

10.99

11-Jan-2010

10

Magnum Taxgain

93.29

10.05

32.03

44.4

59.05

11-Jan-2010

ELSS Schemes Ranking based on 1 Year Returns

Rank

Fund Name

Return (%)

NAV for Plan

NAV as on Date

1 Year

3 Year

5 Year

Dividend

Growth

1

ICICI Prudential Tax Plan

120.85

9.38

24.52

18.51

124.12

11-Jan-2010

2

Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96

111.64

10.74

22.39

88.66

10.99

11-Jan-2010

3

ING Tax Savings

107.18

-0.97

17.56

13.09

26.54

11-Jan-2010

4

DBS Chola Tax Saver

106.86

3.63

n/a

14.28

15.37

11-Jan-2010

5

Taurus Tax Shield

106.56

22.69

18.84

23.93

32.76

11-Jan-2010

6

HDFC Taxsaver

106.03

11.2

27.09

62.36

200.48

11-Jan-2010

7

Canara Robeco Equity Tax Saver

97.08

19.21

28.82

20.29

22.28

11-Jan-2010

8

Sahara Tax Gain

96.88

16.63

25.99

18.99

33.33

11-Jan-2010

9

DSPBR Tax Saver

95.48

n/a

n/a

11.46

15.4

11-Jan-2010

10

HDFC LT Advantage

93.77

8.01

20.66

38.26

117.3

11-Jan-2010

Data Source : Value Research Online
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68 thoughts on “Top 10 Mutual Fund (ELSS) schemes to save taxes”

  1. Remember there is no shortage of crooks in the world — there are millions of people out there ready to strip you of your money. However you can help by not making it easy for them. If you're careless then you're sitting duck for these scamsters so remember you will get shot!

  2. Hi shwetamisra,

    I am srinivas from hyderabad. I need some clarification on mutual fund specially on close-ended mutual fund. My doubt is if i have inveseted in MF through SIP for 3 years locking period for that when will i get my money back? after 3 year of completing my locking period or i need to wait more 3 year to get back my money. Ex i have started investing monthly from 01/04/2007 – 01/02/2010 (3 years when will i get back my money for this investement. kinldy adivise in this.

    Regards
    Srinivas

    1. Thanks Srinivas!

      this is a very interesting question, in ELSS SIP, every investment is treated as a fresh investment and has a lock-in of 3 years. So if you have invested monthly for a period of 01/04/2007 to 01/02/2010 then you can start withdrawing after 01/04/2010 and can withdraw upto a maximum of units allotted to you three years back i.e. on 01/04/2007. Full withdrawal is possible only after 01/02/2013.

      hope this answers your question.

      1. Hi
        Great article… very crisp and useful.
        How come the 1 year returns are close to 100%? Is it a mistake in the chart, or is there some reason in the market?

  3. Hey Shweta,

    I saw the performance of a few ELSS schemes u mentioned in the post above.. Any idea how Bajaj Allianz is performing?

  4. Hi Harpreet,

    Thanks for your query, Bajaj Allianz do not offer Mutual Funds, so they are not covered in this compilation of Top 10 ELSS schemes. Bajaj Allianz is a Life Insurance and offer ULIP schemes. In terms of unit performance Bajaj Allianz's ULIP is one of the best performing ULIPs.

  5. Hi Shweta.. I am a newbie investor so dont have much idea about the pros n cons of the investment schemes. I have been insvesting in the Bajaj Allianz ULIPs since last 2 years. How can I come to know what is the current value of my investment at this point of time?

    1. We did provided details and reasons for our personal favorites. Following 4 funds have given consistent performance in 5/3/1 years :
      * Canara Robeco Equity Tax Saver
      * HDFC Taxsaver
      * Sahara Tax Gain
      * Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96

  6. Hello Shweta,

    You have been doing a great work. Keep up the good work.
    I am new to investments. I would like to share my profile, could you please suggest me the best savings with tax gain.
    1. Maximum investment up to 30,000 in a year
    2. I am looking for a short term investment as I would require the money for my sister's wedding after 4 years
    3. I understand ELSS is one of the best, but will how much returns would I be getting after 4 years (if I am investing during the period 01/04/2010-01/03/2014, How much will I get as returns after 01/04/2014)

    Thanks In Advance for your help & suggestions.
    JJ

    1. Hi Jithesh! Thanks for the kind words.

      Regarding your query, allow me break it up in three parts :
      1) Short term investment with 30,000 per annum contribution for next 4 years (01/04/2010-01/03/2014).
      2) Tax benefits on these investments.
      3) Expected returns after 3 years.

      For the First year i.e. Apr-2010 to Mar-2011, you can go in for a Rs.2500 per month SIP in HDFC Tax Saver or Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96. Remember the ELSS investments have a lock-in of 3 years. So, the last contribution that you make in Mar-2011 will be eligible for redemption by your target date of 01/04/2014.

      For the Second Year, i.e. Apr-2011-Mar-2012, depending upon the market situation, you may look for a lumpsum investment in ELSS in the First week of April-2011 itself, so that you enjoy the tax benefit and yet make your investment eligible for redemption by April 2014.

      There after it is better to invest in Diversified Equity Mutual Funds. Refer our earlier article on MF SIP for details. As all tax saving investments have a minimum lock-in of 3 years, you need to invest your monies in other avenues so that you can withdraw when needed.

      Now, what is the expected returns after 3 years? Well, no one can provide you this figure and if some one does he is lying. However, Stocks as an investment class outperform all other investments over a long term, similarly systematic investments in Equity MFs is best for retail investors. Last 2 years were bad for markets due to Global Crisis. Things are improving now, in 2009 we have seen markets gaining 100% from the lows. So taking a 3 to 4 years time horizon you can expect to make a decent returns on your Equity MF investments.

      In case you need any further clarification, pls feel free to leave a comment or contact us.

  7. Helo Shweta , waw what a useful guideines you given?
    Thanks for starting this article.
    I have some queries regarding investment.
    Can you please outline some best ELSS ?
    Many Thanks,
    Ramdhan Joshi

    1. Thanks Ramdhan!

      I have already outlined some good ELSS which you can consider. For your benefit I am re-listing them here :
      * Canara Robeco Equity Tax Saver
      * HDFC Taxsaver
      * Sahara Tax Gain
      * Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96

  8. My NRI son has taken a HDFC Standard life Young Star Policy for a duration of 20 years. He pays yearly premium of Rs. 75,000/- He has opted for investment in Growth (100% equity) plan. He has paid 3 premiums so far. His investment is on "Repatriable Basis". Can he stop paying further premiums without losing any benifits that presently policy is offering? How many minium number of premiums he must pay to keep the policy alive till maturity?
    harudesai.

    1. Dear Mr. Desai

      Thanks for your query. As a matter of fact, HDFC Standard life Young Star Policy is a child plan which is a type of Insurance and not an ELSS scheme which are Mutual Funds. I am in process of analyzing child plans offered by various insurance company. I have noted down your query and will revert to you on email as soon as I have concrete analysis on the same. Request you to bear with us for some time.

  9. Hi Shweta, thanks for the wonderful piece on info & taking pains to answering all our queries. I wanted to know this: By looking at your tables, Canara Robeco has given an average return of 19% for a 3-year period. So, lets assume I invest 60K. Taking this 19% rate, what would be my return after 3 years? I know there are other risks associated with the markets and things may not be the same after 3 years. However, just wanted to know what would be the reak value that I get after 3 years for 60K & it'd be great if you can explain me the logic or calculation. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Sai for your query!

      Canara Robeco has indeed shown splendid performance in last 1/3/5 years. You said right, their 3 years performance is 19%. Although, in any investment instrument which is linked to Stock Market past performance can not be extrapolated to predict future performance as there are numerous risks involved. But, just for explaining to you if we assume that Canara Robeco ELSS will provide 15% average returns in next three years, so your investment of Rs.60K invested today will be worth Rs.91.25K taking 15% compounded annual growth rate.

      In excel this is how you will do the calculation :
      60,000 * (1 + 15/100)^3 = 91,252.5

      Hope this answers your query.

      1. Thank You so much Shweta for the reply! That really helps & I understand that extrapolation is not a right thing. However, you've replied to what I was looking for. Thanks again!

  10. Dear Shweta,
    Thank you so much for giving so much of use full information to beginners like me. request you to advise if its right to invest 60k per year in elss for tax saving. 20k alreday goes to LIC. also which is most advisable elss. is it good to continue same elss next fin year or changing is better.
    Thanking you.. Deepesh

  11. Dear Shweta
    Thank you for the wonderful article.
    I am planning to invest in ELSS MF for a locking period of 3 years. All my previous investments have been into HDFC Tax Saver Growth with good results. However this time (July 2010) I am looking for another fund to invest.
    The listing provided by you is as of Jan2010. I would really appreciate if you kindly provide me an updated list of best performing MFs so that I can make a better decision.

    Thanks and regards
    Surajit

  12. Hi ,

    I have a query. If I have invested 30000 RS in ELSS 3 years ago and now its 45,600 Rs.

    If I want to withdraw now how much money will i get back.

    Lock in period is over. Will there be any tax applicable on this returns?

    Please guide me.

  13. hi sweta
    i am interested in mutual fund..i want investment 50000rs.so please tell me……in this time according to market
    top mutual fund.give more return to me.
    help me please

  14. Hi,
    Can you please make out the trend on the basis of months as to when does the high performing ELSS funds declares the dividend so that just one month prior I can invest into the fund.

    Rgds

    1. Hi Kushal,

      Very interesting comment. You have brought up a topic that many Mutual Fund investors are confused about. But first, let me tell you that investing in Mutual Fund Schemes solely for dividends is not advisable! Read on to know why…

      Suppose, the Mutual Fund scheme has NAV of Rs. 12.25 and it pays out a dividend of Rs.1.25 per unit to investors. The new NAV for the scheme on the dividend payout date will be Rs.11 (12.25 – 1.25).

      So, you got the Rs.1.25 dividend per unit from your holdings only. Unlike stocks, where you get Dividend from the income earned by the company, Mutual Funds take the money out from the scheme's kitty and distribute to investors. Its not dividend, its a kind of withdrawal.

      I prefer Growth option while investing myself in Mutual Fund schemes. The only benefit of choosing dividend payout option in ELSS scheme is that you can get the tax free amount back from the ELSS investments even during lock-in period while enjoying the tax benefit on the full amount invested initially.

      Regards,
      Shweta

  15. Hello Shweta,
    Thanks a lot for this post. Its very helpful for people like me who understand nothing about mutual fund or all these financial calculations.

    As per date my total investment for tax saving is 80,000 per year(LIC+PF+ELSS in SBI Magnum,HDFC Taxsaver & Principal)

    Now to save complete tax I want to put
    i) 10,000 rs. in a Growth ELSS ,
    ii) 10,000 rs. in Dividend ELSS, (As max investment limit is 1 lakh [my prev elss 80k+ required20k]) and
    ii) 20,000 rs in Infrastructure.

    Kindly suggest other than SBI Magnum,HDFC Taxsaver & Principal, where I can invest.

    Thanks in advance.
    Regards.

    1. Thanks for your comment Shantanu, you can look at Canara Robeco Equity Tax Saver and Fidelity Tax Advantage.

      Meanwhile, I will compile a list of Top MFs (diversified, ELSS, etc) for 2011 too. So, stay connected or subscribe to our email updates/RSS feeds. Thanks!.

  16. Hi Shweta, I want to start my investment in mutual funds thru SIP. could you please suggest how to do the investment in mutual funds.

    Regards,
    Gaurav Garg

  17. Hi Shweta,
    Thanks a lot for all good suggestions. I have started 6 SIPs for Rs. 1000/- each in HDFC TOP 200 G, RELIANCE EQ. OPP. G, HDFC MIDCAP OPP. G, SUNDA. SELECT MIDCAP G, RELIANCE BANKING G AND IPRU DYNAMIC G.in feb/2010. Please advise whether my selection is good or any change required. Now I’m willing to choose an ELSS for investing Rs. 10000/- for F/Y 2010-11, pl. help.
    Thanks in adv…………

  18. I want to invest a lum sump amoumt of rs. 15000 for availing tax benefit for one time .could u suggest me the best scheme

  19. Hi, I saw that most ELSS schemes listed here are boasting of around 100% returns in the first year. Does that mean that if I invest Rs. 3 Lakh now, at the end of 1 year my investment will appreciate to Rs 6 lakh? what are the downside risks involved? Please clarify

  20. Dear Shweta,

    My PPF is geting matured, I want to invest the amount of Rs.2L in such saving scheme
    whr in i will get good returns.
    Kindly advise

    Shilpi

    1. Hi Shilpi,
      Expectation of higher return is always associated with high risk. Top performing mutual funds in diversified equity like HDFC top 200 growth or ICICI pru focused bluechip fund growth are few one that can be selected for long time investment needs. Having one time investment at present market situation is not a good idea. We may average it through SIP. Further additional purchasing at big corrctions in NAV can make higher returns feasible………….

  21. Hello Shweta,

    I have already associated with ELSS scheme since last 3 years.

    My ECS date is 28th of every month.

    I observe in many month that my bank a/c. is debited on 28th but company will give me a NAV on dated 1st or 2nd on next month.

    Now last month on 28th feb.2011 my ESC is debited on 28th feb form my bank. a/c. & sensex goes up 623 points ON 01 st march 2011& company will give me a NAV dates 01.03.2011.

    Pls, suggest me in this case what will i do.

    Thanks,

    1. Hi Bhavik,
      As I know, SIP's are debited on whatever the date from the bank, the units alloted to you are always on the date selected by you everymonth. In case, the particular date is a holyday, the units will be alloted as per NAV of the next working day….

  22. hi Sweta,

    I am just starting a corporate life. Thought of making my first investment in ELSS through SIP. Can u suggest me an optimal amount i can invest every month assuming my disposable savings is 4000.

    Is it a good idea to invest 60% in ELSS and 40% in high return instruments like MFs, Equity etc?

    Thank you
    Jose George

  23. Shewta,
    Just heard from my friend that from 2012 wuth DTC coming in, there will be no tax rebate if you invest in mutal fund ELSS, I was thinking to start with hdfc tax saver from april 2011, but if i start then i would get benefit for just 1yr, what after that, what happens to the mutal fund???

  24. TOP 5 OPEN ENDED -EQUITY FUNDS – PERIOD (LAST 5 YEARS)
    1. Equity (Diversified)
    (a) Reliance Regular Savings Fund – Equity – Growth
    (b) IDFC Premier Equity Fund – Plan A – Growth
    (c) HDFC Top 200 Equity – Growth
    (d) Birla Sun life Frontline Equity Fund – Plan A – Growth
    (e) UTI Dividend Yield Fund – Growth

    2. Equity
    (a) Reliance Banking Fund – Growth
    (b) Reliance Pharma Fund – Growth
    (c) UTI Banking Sector Fund – Growth
    (d) Reliance Regular Savings Fund – Equity – Growth
    (e) IDFC Premier Equity Fund – Plan A – Growth

    3. Balanced
    (a) HDFC Prudence Fund – Growth
    (b) Reliance Regular Savings Fund – Balanced – Growth
    (c) Birla Sun Life 95 – Growth
    (d) DSP Black Rock Balanced Fund – Growth
    (e) Frankline Templeton India Balanced Fund – Growth

    4. Euity ( Tax Planning )
    (a) Fidelity Tax advantages Fund – Growth
    (b) Taurus Taxshield Fund – Growth
    (c) Sahara Taxgain – Growth
    (d) Hdfc Taxsaver – Growth
    (e) Frankline India Taxshield – Growth

    5. Debt Funds
    (a) Escorts Income Bond – Growth
    (b) Reliance Monthly Income Plan – Growth
    (c) HDFC Monthly Income Plan – Growth
    (d) Canara Robeco Monthly Income Plan – Growth
    (e) Birla Sun Life Monthly Income Plan – Growth

    6. Liquid Fund
    (a) Escorts Liquid Plan – Growth
    (b) Lic MF liquid Fund – Growth
    (c) Reliance Liquidty Fund – Growth
    (d) HDFC Cash Management Scheme – Saving Plan
    (e) SBI Magnum Insta Cash Fund – Liquid Floater – Growth

    7.Equity (Sector)

    (a) Reliance Banking Fund – Growth
    (b) Reliance Pharma Fund – Growth
    (c) UTI Banking Sector Fund – Growth
    (d) Reliance Diversified Power Sector Fund – Growth
    (e) ICICI Prudential Infrastructure Fund – Growth

    FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT US AT http://WWW.SCAPITALS.BLOGSPOT.COM OR MAIL US INVCARES@GMAIL.COM

  25. Hello Shweta
    I want to do a SIP of Rs 2000 per month. I want to invest in a medium risk scheme which will atleast give me 20 % return(with the economy going okay)
    I will need to withdraw the money 2013 end or 2014 beginning.
    Can you please suggest 3 ELSS I can try out.
    Many Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
    Regards
    Deb

  26. Hi Shwetha

    i am completely new to this subject. one of my relative is suggesting me to invest in mutual funds ELSS scheme. i want to invest 2k per month for three yrs and i want to take the entire amount in 2014 for my expenditure. i want to know that how much money will i get back and how much tax can i save. pls clarify

    Kiran

    1. Hi Kiran,
      If you are going to invest for the purpose of tax saving, ELSS is a good option. But if you are investing for the purpose of return, the period of three years is not enough in case of sip's. If you are going to withdraw your money after 3years, you should invest in bank FD's where the return is assured upto 9.5 pc to 10.0 pc per annum.

  27. Hi Shweta,

    I am investing in 3 MFs viz-e-viz HDFC Top-200 (Rs.5000/month), HDFC Equity Fund (Rs.3000/month) and HDFC Mid-Cap Opportunity (Rs.2000/month) through SIP. I want to know whether my MF portfolio is right or does it need some change.

    Further, I want to invest Rs. 50000 lumpsum in ELSS for saving my tax, in order to get the return in one go. I found HDFC Taxsaver is a good option, but I want some other better performing ELSS instrument, as it is not very wise to have funds from only one fund house. OR if you can suggest me an alternative to ELSS, as the income from these instruments is taxable.

    Could you please tell me how much is the TDS on ELSS?

    Thank you.

  28. HI Shweta,
    Greetings. Really Nice Article. Please help me. I really need some advice

    from you to help me understand these terms.
    Like for example no.1 Magnum Taxgain
    return% 1 year is 93.29 , 3 year is 10.05 , and 5 year is 32.03 … NAV for plan-

    Dividend 44.4 , Growth 59.05 .
    CAn you give me more details about what is this 93.29, 10.05 and 32.03 . And also

    please do tell me about NAV.what exactly is it and what is this dividend 44.4 and

    growth 59.05.
    Also if I choose to invest 1 lakh, how much will i get in these 1, 3 and 5 years and

    how will it be calculated.

    Many Thanks and Advance.
    Gaurav

  29. FOR APPLICATION OF INFRASTRUCTURE BOND – CONTACT – AMIT SURPURIYA – 9850873688 – PUNE

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  30. Hi sweta,
    Thank to see your best suggestion in SIP. I have three SIP in monthly saving in this area 8000. I want to invest money in tax saving bode in ELSS platform. I want to query about best portfolio of Tax saving base in SIP. If you do not mind, we need your mail id so that we can send my ELSS related query to you & get reply quickly.
    NL Choubey
    choubey.ambuja@gmail.com

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