Parents need to start saving for their children's education as early as possible.

PARENTS who opt for the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) SSPN-i or SSPN-i Plus can enjoy tax relief of up to RM8,000 per year until 2022, while investing in their children’s future.

Besides that, both products are syariah-compliant savings plans for higher education, with parents able to enjoy a competitive dividend rate that is excluded from income tax. In addition, they will be eligible to apply for the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans.

SSPN offers free takaful protection for RM1,000 and above ringgit-to-ringgit deposits, as well as a matching grant of up to RM10,000 for an eligible family with household income not exceeding RM4,000.

For the SSPN-i Plus, on the other hand, parents can enjoy the same benefits as SSPN-i with the savings guaranteed by the government. Offering a package as low as RM30 or RM1 a day, the package comes without the matching grant and free takaful ringgit-to-ringgit protection, but comes with other additional benefits.

Parents or legal guardians can benefit from takaful protection up to RM1mil in case of death or permanent disability, death benefits for depositors including spouses and up to three children.

Health examinations for those seeking to join the Intan, Delima, Topas, Zamrud and Nilam packages will also be excluded, except for the Berlian package, which will require them to answer three health questions.

According to PTPTN, the advantages offered to depositors are aimed at encouraging parents to save for their children’s education and reduce the reliance on PTPTN loans.

Chee Meng (pic) credits his wife as the one who initiated the savings plan for their children's future.Chee Meng (pic) credits his wife as the one who initiated the savings plan for their children's future.

For father Leong Chee Meng, a consultant in the hospitality industry, it was his wife Wong Kooi Lian who initiated the savings plan in 2014, following an awareness programme held at their children’s school. The couple have four children including Leong Wei Ling, 25; Leong Siew Weng, 24; Leong Wei Yin, 21; and Leong Yu Chuen, 19.

Chee Meng said, “We started saving up around 2014 after an awareness programme held at our children’s school. My wife thought that it was a good idea to start saving for their education, since people do set aside money savings, so why not do the same for our children’s future?

“The savings plan enables us to save for our children’s future education bit by bit, so that it would not come as a big burden later on. That’s a priority for us. In addition, the tax relief and dividend that are part of the benefits we get also helps.”

He advised other parents to start as early as possible to save for their children’s future.

“Always be prepared for your children’s education. Start out early to lessen the stress and burden when the time comes, ” he

The biggest benefits under the savings plans are the tax reliefs with two eligible categories: RM8,000 maximum for each husband and wife depositor who individually does their tax by opening up separate accounts for the same child, or RM8,000 maximum for a couple.

Depositors saving in SSPN-i Plus will receive tax relief of up to RM11,000 (up to RM8,000 for net savings in the account and up to RM3,000 for takaful contributions). For depositors who choose the pension scheme, there will be tax relief of up to RM15,000 (up to RM8,000 is for net savings in the account and up to RM7,000 for takaful contributions).

The condition for eligibility of these tax reliefs for SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus are calculated based on the total net savings in the account for the current year. Net savings for the current year are the total savings after deduction of withdrawals made in the same year.

This means that depositors with a previous year account balance of RM5,500 and have net savings of RM500 for the current year will get a maximum tax relief incentive of RM500 for the year of assessment.

To check or print the SSPN account summary statement, depositors can visit PTPTN’s official website at www.ptptn.gov.my, where the amount stated in the statement is the eligible amount for the year of assessment.

SSPN-i Plus depositors are also eligible to participate in the Cabutan WOW! under two categories, which are the annual draw and monthly draws.

The aim of the Cabutan WOW! SSPN-i Plus 2020, with a total of RM1mil cash prize and a Mercedes Benz C200 as the main prize, is to encourage the public to save in SSPN-i Plus, in addition to showing appreciation to committed depositors who make consistent savings deposits and plan for their children’s future education. This prize draw will end on Dec 31.

To boost excitement for the year-end campaign, PTPTN has also introduced the Cabutan Pecutan Akhir Tahun, which started on Nov 19 and will end on Dec 31, offering prizes such as a television, tablets and air fryers.

The special year-end draw is open to all SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus depositors with RM200 net savings, which means that depositors have a chance to win more in addition to the Cabutan WOW! SSPN-i Plus and while enjoying the tax relief for 2020.

For further information, visit www.lovesspn.com.

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