1. What are the salient features of the Senior Citizens Savings Scheme, 2004?
The salient features of the Senior Citizens Savings Scheme, 2004 are given below.
2. Can a joint account be opened under the scheme with any person?
Joint account under the SCSS, 2004 can be opened only with the spouse. [Rule 3 (3)]
3. What should be the age of the spouse in case of a joint account?
In case of a joint account, the age of the first applicant / depositor is the only factor to decide the eligibility to invest under the scheme. There is no age bar/limit for the second applicant / joint holder (i.e. spouse). [Rule 3 (3)]
4. What will be the share of the joint account holder in the deposit in an account?
The whole amount of investment in an account under the scheme is attributed to the first applicant / depositor only. As such, the question of any share of the second applicant / joint account holder (i.e. spouse) in the deposit account does not arise. [Rule 3 (3)]
5. Whether both the spouses can open separate accounts in their individual capacity with separate limit of Rs.15 lakh for each of them?
Both the spouses can open individual and / or joint accounts with each other with the maximum deposits up to Rs.15 lakh each, provided both are individually eligible to invest under relevant provisions of the Rules governing the Scheme. (Rules 3 and 4 )
6. Whether any income tax rebate / exemption is admissible?
No income tax / wealth tax rebate is admissible under the Scheme. The prevailing Income Tax provisions shall apply.
7. Is TDS applicable to the scheme?
Yes, TDS is applicable to the Scheme as interest payments have not been exempted from deduction of tax at source.
8. Whether any minimum limit has been prescribed for deduction of tax at source?
Tax is to be deducted at source as per the minimum limit prescribed by the Government.
9. What is the rate at which TDS is to be deducted from the account holder?
The rate for TDS for a financial year is specified in Part II of Schedule I of the Finance Act for that year.
10. Whether TDS should also be recovered from the undrawn interest payable to the legal heirs of the deceased depositors?
Tax shall be deducted at source even from any interest paid / payable to the legal heir of the account holder.
11. Whether TDS on interest payments will be applicable with retrospective effect or prospective basis?
TDS is applicable from the very first day when SCSS, 2004 was made operational regardless of the fact that the Central Government or Reserve Bank of India or any authority might have issued any Notification / circular / clarification at a later stage. \
12. Whether only one person or number of persons can be nominated in the accounts opened under the Scheme?
The depositor may, at the time of opening of the account, nominate a person or persons who, in the event of death of the depositor, will be entitled to payment due on the account. [Rule 6 (1)]
13. Can a nomination be made after the account has already been opened?
Yes, nomination may be made by the depositor at any time after opening of the account but before its closure, by an application in Form C accompanied by the Pass book to the deposit office. [Rule 6 (2)]
14. Can a nomination be cancelled or changed?
Yes, the nomination made by the depositor may be cancelled or varied by submitting a fresh nomination in Form C to the deposit office where the account is being maintained. [Rule 6 (3)]
15. Can nomination be made in joint account also?
Nomination can be made in joint account also. In such a case, the joint holder will be the first person entitled to receive the amount payable in the event of death of the depositor. The nominee’s claim will arise only after the death of both the joint holders. [Rule 6 (4)]
16. Can a person holding a Power of Attorney sign for the nominee in the nomination form ?
No, a person holding a Power of Attorney cannot sign for the nominee in the nomination form.
17. In case of a joint account, if the first holder / depositor expires before maturity, can the account be continued?
In case of a joint account, if the first holder / depositor expires before the maturity of the account, the spouse may continue the account on the same terms and conditions as specified under the SCSS Rules. However, if the second holder i.e. spouse has his / her own individual account, the aggregate of his/her individual account and the deposit amount in the joint account of the deceased spouse should not be more than the prescribed maximum limit. In case the maximum limit is breached, then the remaining amount shall be refunded, so that the aggregate of the individual account and deceased spouse’s joint account is maintained at the maximum limit. [Rules 6 (4) and 8 (3)]
18. What happens to the accounts if both the spouses are maintaining individual accounts and not any joint account and one of them expires?
If both the spouses have opened separate accounts under the scheme and either of the spouses dies during the currency of the account(s), the account(s) standing in the name of the deceased depositor/spouse shall not be continued and such account(s) shall be closed. The account can be closed by making an application in Form ‘F’. Annexures II & III to Form ‘F’ can be attested by the Oath Commissioner or Notary Public [Rule 8].
19. Whether any fee has been prescribed for nomination and / or change / cancellation of nomination?
No fee has been prescribed for nomination and / or change / cancellation of nomination(s) in the accounts under the SCSS, 2004.
20. What is the age limit in the case of retired Defence Personnel for investment in the scheme?
The retired personnel of Defence Services (excluding Civilian Defence Employees) will be eligible to subscribe under the scheme irrespective of the age limit of 60 years subject to the fulfillment of other specified conditions. (The Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (Amendment) Rules, 2004 notified on October 27, 2004)
21. What is the meaning of ‘retirement benefits’ for the purpose of SCSS, 2004?
"Retirement benefits" for the purpose of SCSS Rules have been defined as 'any payment due to the depositor on account of retirement whether on superannuation or otherwise and includes Provident Fund dues, retirement / superannuation gratuity, commuted value of pension, cash equivalent of leave, savings element of Group Savings linked Insurance scheme payable by employer to the employee on retirement, retirement-cum-withdrawal benefit under the Employees’ Family Pension Scheme and ex-gratia payments under a voluntary retirement scheme'. (Rule 2 (a) of the Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (Amendment) Rules, 2004 notified on October 27, 2004)
22. Can deposits under the SCSS scheme be made only from amounts received as retirement’s benefits?
In case an investor has attained the age of 60 years and above, the source of amount being invested is immaterial [Rule 2 (d)(i)]. However, if the investor is 55 years or above but below 60 years and has retired under a voluntary scheme or a special voluntary scheme or has retired from the Defence services, only the retirement benefits can be invested in the SCSS. [Rule 2(d) (ii)].
23. Is there a period prescribed for opening deposit account under the SCSS scheme, by the senior citizen, from the retirement benefits?
If the investor is 60 years and above, there is no time period prescribed for opening the SCSS account(s). However for those below 60 years, following time limits have been prescribed.
(a) Who has attained the age of 55 years or more but less than 60 years, and who has retired on superannuation or otherwise on the date of opening of an account under these rules, subject to the condition that the account is opened by such individual within one month of the date of receipt of the retirement benefits and proof of date of disbursal of such retirement benefit(s) along with a certificate from the employer, indicating the fact of retirement on superannuation or otherwise, retirement benefit, employment held and period of such employment with the employer.
(b) the persons who have retired at any time before the commencement of these rules and attained the age of 55 years or more on the date of opening of an account under these rules, will also be eligible to subscribe under the scheme within a period of one month of the date of the notification of the SCSS, 2004 i.e. 27th October
2004, subject to fulfillment of other conditions. [Rule 2 of the Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (Amendment) Rules, 2004]
(c) the retired personnel of Defence Services (excluding Civilian Defence Employees) will be eligible to subscribe under the scheme irrespective of the above age limits subject to the fulfillment of other specified conditions. [Rule 2 of the Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (Amendment ) Rules, 2004]
24. Can an account holder obtain loan by pledging the deposit / account under the SCSS, 2004?
The facility of pledging the deposit / account under the SCSS, 2004 for obtaining loans, is not permitted since the account holder will not be able to withdraw the interest amount periodically, defeating the very purpose of the scheme.
25. Is premature withdrawal of the deposits from the accounts under the SCSS, 2004 permitted?
Premature withdrawal / closure of the deposits from the accounts under the SCSS,
2004 has been permitted after completion of one year from the date of opening of the account after deducting the penalty amount as given below.
(i) If the account is closed after one year but before expiry of two years from the date of opening of the account, an amount equal to one and half per cent of the deposit shall be deducted.
(ii) If the account is closed on or after the expiry of two years from the date of open ing of the account, an amount equal to one per cent of the deposit shall be deducted.
However, if the depositor is availing the facility of extension of account under Rule 4 (3), then he/she can withdraw the deposit and close the account at any time after the expiry of one year from the date of extension of the account without any deduction. [Rule 9 (1) (a) (b) and (2)]
26. Are Non-resident Indians, Persons of Indian Origin and Hindu Undivided Family eligible to invest in the SCSS, 2004?
Non resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) are not eligible to invest in the accounts under the SCSS, 2004. If a depositor becomes a Non-resident Indian subsequent to his/her opening the account and during the currency of the account under the SCSS Rules, the account may be allowed to continue till maturity, on a non-repatriation basis and the account will be marked as a Non-Resident account. [Rule 13)
27. Can an account be transferred from one deposit office to another?
A depositor may apply in Form G, enclosing the Pass Book thereto, for transfer of his account from one deposit office to another. If the deposit amount is rupees one lakh or above, a transfer fee of rupees five per lakh of deposit for the first transfer and rup ees ten per lakh of deposit for the second and subsequent transfers shall be payable. [Rule 11)
28. Can an SCSS account be extended?
A depositor may extend the account for a further period of three years by making an application to the deposit office within a period of one year after maturity.
29. Does an account, which is not extended on maturity, earn any interest?
In case a depositor does not close the account on maturity and also does not extend the account, the account will be treated as matured and the depositor will be entitled to close the account at any time subject to the condition that the post maturity interest at the rate as applicable to the deposits under the Post office Savings Accounts from time to time will be payable on such matured deposits upto the end of the month preceding the month of the closure of the account.
30. What happens if an account is opened in contravention of the SCSS Rules?
If an account has been opened in contravention of the SCSS Rules, the account shall be closed immediately and the deposit in the account, after deduction of the interest, if any, paid on such deposit, shall be refunded to the depositor. (Rule 12)