How much can we invest in multiple PPF accounts?

A person cannot have more than one PPF account and the maximum amount that can be invested in a PPF account is Rs. 1.5 Lakh (as per current law). However, a family can have multiple PPF accounts: one for the father, one for the wife, one for each child, and so on. In this post, I discuss a question often asked in the Facebook group, Asan Ideas for Wealth. Full credit for this post goes to Ashal Jauhari, the admin/owner of the group.

Please note: this is a post discussing rules: how much can we invest in multiple PPF accounts and NOT a post about how much should we invest.  Therefore please treat this post as a discussion about rules and not investment advice. Asset allocation matters. Going overboard on any asset class is injurious to fiscal health.

First things first:

1: An individual cannot have more than one PPF account in his name. He can have a second account as the legal guardian of a minor account. If he has ten children, he can have 10 such minor accounts + his own.

Now let us consider a family of four:

Raja, his wife Mala, and their two minor children, Pranav and Priya.

Raja has a PPF account in his name. If this is the only account the family has, the total investment per FY is capped at 1.5 Lakh.

Now Raja opens a PPF account for his son Pranav.  The total investment Raja can make in his account, plus his son’s account is Rs. 1.5 Lakh.

The rule on this is very clear in the PPF rule book (page 3) (this still has the old limit of Rs. 1L).

The limit of deposit of Rs. 1,50,000 in a year by an individual in his self account and accounts opened by him on behalf of his minor(s) of whom he is the guardian is combined under rule 3 (1) of the Scheme. This limit is separate for account opened by the HUF or an association of persons or body of individuals vide rule 3 (2) of the scheme.

Also,

A Public Provident Fund account on behalf on a minor can be opened by either father or mother. Both the parents cannot open a separate account for the same minor. An individual may open one PPF account on behalf of each minor of whom he is the guardian.

That is, Raja can open two minor accounts for their children or he can open a minor account for his son and Mala can open one minor account for their daughter.

Suppose the family has four PPF accounts.

Raja has his own + is the guardian for the minor son.

Mala has her own + is the guardian for the minor daughter.

Consider the following:

Raja invests Rs. 1.5L in his son’s account. This is the maximum he can invest in both his + his son’s account.

Mala invests Rs. 1.5L in her daughter’s account. This is the maximum she can invest in both her + her daughter’s account.

Now Raja is free to invest another Rs. 1.5L in Mala’s account. Similarly, Mala can invest Rs. 1.5L in Raja’s account. Of course, the maximum 80C that Raja or Mala can claim is only Rs. 1.5L.

This is illustrated below.

PPF multiple accounts investment 650x235 - How much can we invest in multiple PPF accounts?

Now the family can invest Rs. 6L a financial year in the four PPF accounts.

This may seem like an overkill to you. Yes and no. For example, if the family can invest 15L per year (assuming they do not have any EPF or NPS), then this 6L investment is only 40%. The rest 60% can be invested in equity. So depending on the investible surplus, the financial goals, and desired asset allocation, multiple PPF accounts, and a corresponding investment makes sense.

Therefore,

do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

If Raja and Mala had only 1 child, the max investment possible is Rs. 4.5 Lakh if both spouses earn and Rs. 3 Lakh if only one spouse earns.

A reminder that this post only discusses rules.

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9 thoughts on “How much can we invest in multiple PPF accounts?

  1. I and my wife are NRIs. I will have my child born in India in December. Can I then open an account on behalf of my child?

  2. Dear Sachin, for current FY, due to pregnancy, your wife is spending more time in India (I assume), so she being resident Indian can open her own PPF account in current FY.

    Just after, your baby is out in this world, from mother’s womb, he is resident Indian and thus eligible for PPF account.

    Thanks

    Ashal

  3. This article comes as a big surprise. I always thought that as a guardian, you and the minor can have only a max limit of 1.5L total. Could you guide us to which part of the PPF act allows the case you have mentioned (husband putting money in wifes account and vice versa)?

  4. What you thought is right and nowhere have I stated anything different! The PPF rule only says if I invest in my acct + my wifes acct. The max tax break I can claim is 1.5L. It says nothing about how much I can invest in my wifes acct. Therefore it is possible.

  5. Professor,
    1. The rulebook also contains ‘The subscription can be deposited in the account in multiples of 5/-
    either in lump sum or in installments subject to the condition that the total amount deposited in a year should not be less than
    500 and more than ` 1,00,000.’ here it only mentions about the subscription and not say anything about who deposits the amount. Does not it mean that the total subscription is limited and not just the part made by the account holder him/herself?
    2a. If what you say in the article is correct, then could you please clarify why you mention that the amount that can be contributed by a person to the account of his/her spouse is limited to 1/1.5L? I could not find any such Rule in the linked rule book.
    2b. If a couple has no kids and both are working, does it mean that each one can contribute 1.5L to own account and the spouse’s account each? In effect, contributing 6L in total? I am only talking about the contribution, not about 80c eligibility.

    1. ha ha the maximum contribution that will earn interest is 1.5L and these days one cannot invest more than 1.5L in ANY account in an FY. So DINK couple can only invest 3L in both accounts.

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