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National Pension System

National Pension System

The government gives special tax exemption for contribution towards the National Pension System (NPS) by employers on behalf of employees under the corporate model.

Under this, both employee and employer’s contributions are eligible for income tax deduction.

While the employee contribution up to 10% of basic plus dearness allowance, or DA, is eligible for deduction under Section 80CCD within the Rs 1 lakh limit, the employer’s contribution up to 10% of basic plus DA is eligible for deduction under Section 80CCE over and above the Rs 1 lakh limit.

Even the employer can claim tax benefit for its contribution by showing it as business expense in the profit and loss account.

All your employer has to do is register and contribute to your NPS investments. It must already be doing so by contributing to the Employee Provident Fund, a mandatory retirement savings option that companies have to offer their employees.

The NPS contribution will be in addition to your Employee Provident Fund, or EPF, investments. Does this mean your employer will take have to the extra burden? No. It can simply deduct the contribution from your salary. You gain by funnelling a big part of your salary into your retirement fund and saving tax.

WHO CAN BENEFIT?

Other than central and state government employees, mandated to make contribution to NPS, those working in entities registered under the Companies Act and cooperative Acts, registered partnership firms, proprietorship concerns, trusts and societies can avail of the additional tax exemption under this model.

The tax benefit on employer’s contribution was introduced on December 2011 after the announcement in the Union Budget early that year.

Corporate houses willing to join NPS can do so by tying up with one of the PFRDA-approved points of presence, which facilitate account opening and act as an interface between the subscriber and NPS intermediaries such as record-keeping agencies.

INVESTMENT OPTIONS

A company can either offer investment options at the subscriber level, allowing employees to choose the pension fund manager and the asset allocation, or at the company level, in which the company decides the fund manager and the asset allocation.

Under the latter, the company can opt for the portfolio mandated for central government employees (guidelines on which are issued time to time) and choose from the three government fund managers, LIC Pension Fund, SBI Pension Fund and UTI Retirement Solution. Else, it can choose from schemes and fund managers for the voluntary sector.

THE ‘BUZZ’ AROUND

According to many intermediaries, NPS has got a big boost from this tax sop.

Vineet Arora, head, products and distribution, ICICI Securities, says the exemption has been more instrumental in creating interest about NPS among investors than other changes made recently by the Pension and Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA).

Over 250 corporate houses have already registered for NPS, says CR Chandrashekhar, CEO, Fundsindia.com.

Wipro Technologies was among the first to subscribe. “The response has been fairly good, especially among employees in the 30-35 year age group. This reflects the increasing financial awareness among employees,” says Samir Gadgil, general manager and global head, Compensation and Benefits, Wipro Technologies.

Gadgil says regular communication by the company has been the key to creating awareness among employees. “Webinars, quiz contests, road shows, focused group discussions and a helpdesk on our campus are some of the tools we used,” he says.

EPF Vs NPS

The Employee Provident Fund is a mandatory retirement savings instrument in which one contributes 12% of basic and DA every month. The employer makes a matching contribution.

The employee’s contribution is eligible for income tax deduction up to Rs 1 lakh a year.

The NPS corporate model, on the other hand, is a voluntary retirement savings scheme in which you contribute at least Rs 6,000 every year. There is no cap on investment. Like in EPF, the employee contribution is eligible for income tax deduction up to Rs 1 lakh a year. However, NPS offers additional tax deduction on employer contribution up to 10% of basic and DA. This is over and above the Rs 1 lakh limit of Section 80C.

The EPF money is not invested in equities. NPS allows up to 50% equity exposure. EPF, however, offers the option of premature withdrawal without foreclosure. It allows premature withdrawal for specific purposes such as house construction, marriage and illness.

In NPS, any premature withdrawal will lead to closure of the account. Only up to 20% funds can be withdrawn before you turn 60, the rest has to be used to buy annuity.

GAINS FOR ALL
By subscribing to corporate NPS, both you and your employer stand to gain:
  • The employee contribution up to 10% of basic plus DA is deductible under Section 80 CCD within the limit of Rs 1 lakh
  •  The employer’s contribution up to 10% basic plus DA is allowed as deduction under Section 80CCE over the Rs 1 lakh limit
  •  The employer can claim tax benefits by showing the amount contributed towards pension of employees as ‘business expense’.
  •  The tax benefit on employer’s contribution has been offered since December 2011
  • The contribution towards NPS will be over and above the mandatory contribution towards the Employee Provident Fund
  • Over 250 corporate houses have registered with the NPS for offering pension benefits to their employees

National Pension System

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