Welcome Mr. Mehta, What can I do for you ?” said Jenny, a relationship manager working with a leading private sector bank, to the bank customer Mr. Mehta, who himself is a tax consultant.
“I just wanted to deposit these cheques to my account” said Mr. Mehta.
“That will be done Sir. And I would also like to tell you something about a very good tax saving product which will give you insurance as well as good returns.” Said Jenny.
“Is it another ULIP you are talking about Jenny?” asked Mr. Mehta.
“Sir, this is a very good product specially designed for people like you.” Was Jenny’s confused reply to a straight question.
“ Yes, but is it a ULIP?” Mr. Mehta asked firmly this time.
“Yes Sir”. Jenny had no alternative than to confess this time. “But you need to pay the premium only for 5 years”
“Ok. But do you know that as per the draft DTC, the contribution made towards ULIP might not qualify for tax saving. So in effect, it would be mandatory for me to pay the premium for this ULIP for 5 years and invest separately for saving tax.” Asked Mr. Mehta.
“No Sir, when you are buying a ULIP now, the Company is entering into a contract with you that it will give you tax benefit for 5 years. So, DTC or no-DTC, you will continue getting a tax deduction on the premium paid towards this ULIP.” Said Jenny.
“Are you Sure?” Mr. Mehta was astonished. “Is it a Company that decides whether you get a tax deduction or the Government decides it?”
“The Company” Jenny said in a low and hesitant tone.
Mr. Mehta stared at her with anger and surprise, when Deepa, a colleague of Jenny, came to her rescue, saying, “Sir, you are right, it is the government that gives a tax deduction and not the company.”
“Yes, and thus, I would like to wait till the time there is clarity on this one, and only then I would commit myself to such a product wherein I need to compulsorily pay for next 5 years. Had it been a one-time invest product, like an ELSS, I would have definitely invested in it.” Said Mr. Mehta.
Jenny was little disappointed. But she didn’t give up so easily.
“Mr. Mehta, you also have an HUF account with us. Don’t you?” She asked.
“I do. So?” said Mr. Mehta.
“You might be aware that the tax saving limit u/s 80C is Rs. 2 Lakhs for HUF accounts. So you can make some tax saving investments from that account” Said Jenny.
“What??” Mr. Mehta was really angry by now. “Ms. Jenny, just for your information, I am myself a tax consultant, and would like to update you that the tax saving limit for HUFs is the same as individuals, which is Rs. 1 Lakh u/s 80C and Rs. 20,000 u/s 80CCF.”
“Ohh is it?? But I remember ‘SOMEONE’ telling me that the tax saving limit for an HUF is Rs. 2 Lakhs” Jenny was shaken by now.
“SOMEONE ??? And who is that SOMEONE ?? Ma’am, you are a responsible officer in a reputed bank. People from non-finance background trust your words like anything, and you have no other business than to mis-guide people. Thankfully, I am a tax consultant myself, or else you would have successfully cheated me. Are you a Banker or a Cheater?” said the fuming Mr. Mehta.
Jenny had a simple escape route. She just had to apologize and say that she will recheck these things. But on his way back from the bank, Mr. Mehta was thinking, “Times have now come that even your banker might not be shy of cheating you. Do your homework before trusting his words blindly.”
So beware of all such “Jennys” when you visit your bank next time.
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(The views mentioned in the article are personal opinion of the author. The characters used in the article are real and names are changed for protection of identity.)