Capital Gains Tax

Capital gain can be defined as any profit that is received through the sale of a capital asset. The profit that is received falls under the income category. Therefore, a tax needs to be paid on the income that is received. The tax that is paid is called capital gains tax and it can either be long term or short term. The tax that is levied on long term and short term gains starts from 10% and 15%, respectively.

Under the Income Tax Act, capital gains tax in India need not be paid in case the individual inherits the property and there is no sale. However, if the person who has inherited the property decides to sell it, tax will have to be paid on the income that has been generated from the sale. Some of the examples of capital assets are jewelery, machinery, leasehold rights, trademarks, patents, vehicles, house property, building, and land.

Types of Capital Assets

The two types of capital assets are mentioned below:

  1. Long Term Capital Asset:
  2. In case individuals own an asset for a duration of more than 36 months, the asset is a long-term capital asset. Debt-oriented mutual funds, jewelery, etc., that are held for a duration of more than 36 months will come under this category and there is no 24-month reduction period under such circumstances.

    The below-mentioned assets are considered as long-term assets if they are held for a duration of more than 12 months:

    • Zero coupon bonds (not dependent on whether they are quoted or not)
    • Unit Trust of India (UTI) units (not dependent on whether they are quoted or not)
    • Equity-based mutual funds units (not dependent on whether they are quoted or not)
    • Securities that are listed on a stock exchange that is recognized in India. Examples of such securities are government securities, bonds, and debentures.
    • Preference shares or equities that are held in a company that is listed on a stock exchange that is recognized in India.
  3. Short Term Capital Asset:
  4. In case assets are held for a duration of 36 months or less, it can be defined as a short-term capital asset. However, for immovable assets such as house property, building, and land, the duration has been reduced from 36 months to 24 months.

    Therefore, if an individual wishes to sell a land or house after holding it for a duration of 24 months, the profit that the individual makes from it comes under long term capital gain.

    In case the property has been inherited or given as a gift, the amount of time the property was held by the previous owner is also considered when determining whether the property can be considered as a short-term capital asset or a long term capital asset.

    The date on which the bonus shares were allotted is considered when determining the category under which bonus shares or right shares fall.

    How to Calculate Capital Gains?

    All about Capital gains tax India
    Capital Gains

    Depending on the amount of time that the asset has been held, the calculation of Capital Gains will vary. Some of the important points that individuals should know when calculating capital gains are mentioned below:

    • Cost of improvement: If there are any expenses that have been incurred by the seller because of any alterations or additions that have been made to the property. However, any improvements made before 1 April 2001 cannot be considered.
    • Acquisition cost: The amount of money that the seller paid in order to acquire the property.
    • Full value consideration: The amount of money that the seller will receive because of the property transfer. Capital gains are charged from the year the transaction was made even if the money was not received in that particular year.

    In certain cases where the capital asset is also the property of the taxpayer, the acquisition cost and the improvement cost of the previous owner will also be included.

    Calculate Long Term Capital Gains

    The procedure to calculate long term Capital Gains is mentioned below:

    • First, the individual must consider the full value of the asset.
    • Next, the individual must make the below-mentioned deductions:
      • The costs that have been incurred due to the transfer.
      • The amount of money that is spent on the acquisition.
      • The amount of money that is spent on improvement.
    • From the number that has been calculated by following the above steps, the individual must subtract any exemptions that are provided under Section 54B, Section 54F, Section 54EC, and Section 54.

    Example to Calculate long term Capital Gains

    Given below is an example to calculate long term Capital Gains:


    Price house was purchased for: Rs.35 lakh

    Financial Year house was purchased: 2011-2012

    Financial Year house was sold: 2019-2020

    Amount house was sold for: Rs.60 lakh

    Inflation adjusted cost: (289/184) x 35 = 54.97 lakh

    long term Capital Gains: 60 lakh – 54.97 lakh = Rs.5,03,000 (approx)

    Calculate Short Term Capital Gains

    The below-mentioned procedure must be followed by individuals in order to calculate short term capital gains:

    • First, the individual must consider the full value of the property.
    • Next, the below-mentioned points must be deducted:
      • Expenses that have been incurred for the improvement of the property.
      • The expenses incurred for acquiring the property.
      • Any expenses that have been incurred for the transfer of the property.
    • The amount that is calculated after the deduction is the short term capital gain.

    The formula for the calculation of short term capital gain is the full value consideration minus the expenses that have incurred for the transfer minus the cost for improving and acquiring the property.

    Example for Calculation of short term Capital Gains

    Given below is an example of how short term Capital Gains is calculated:


    Price the house was sold for: Rs.55 lakh

    Expenses for brokerage, commissions etc: Rs.30,000

    Net sale consideration: Rs.54,70,000

    Price the house was bought for: Rs.35 lakh

    Amount spend for the improvement of house: Rs.3 lakh

    Gross short term Capital Gain: Rs.16,70,000

    Tax exemptions under Sections 54, 54B, 54D, 54EC, 54ED, 54F, 54G: Nil

    Net short term Capital Gain: Rs.16,70,000

    Short Term Capital Gains: 30% of Rs.16,70,000: Rs.5,01.000

    Long term Gain Tax Rate

    Condition Tax Rate
    Sale of equity shares 10% of the amount which is more than Rs.1 lakh
    Except for sale of equity shares 20%

    Short Term Gains Tax Rate

    Condition Tax Rate
    When the transaction tax is based on securities 15%
    When transaction tax is not based on securities The gain is added to the income tax returns that must be filed, and the amount will be based on the income tax slab

    Cost Inflation Index Number

    Given in the table below is the CII Number from the financial year 2001-2002 to FY 2021-2022:

    Financial Year Assessment Year CII Number
    2001-2002 2002-2003 100
    2002-2003 2003-2004 105
    2003-2004 2004-2005 109
    2004-2005 2005-2006 113
    2005-2006 2006-2007 117
    2006-2007 2007-2008 122
    2007-2008 2008-2009 129
    2008-2009 2009-2010 137
    2009-2010 2010-2011 148
    2010-2011 2011-2012 167
    2011-2012 2012-2013 184
    2012-2013 2013-2014 200
    2013-2014 2014-2015 220
    2014-2015 2015-2016 240
    2015-2016 2016-2017 254
    2016-2017 2017-2018 264
    2017-2018 2018-2019 272
    2018-2019 2019-2020 280
    2019-2020 2020-2021 289
    2020-2021 2021-2022 301
    2021-2022 2022-2023 317

    Indexed Cost of Improvement and Acquisition

    The cost that is incurred on improvement and acquisition is indexed with the main aim of adjusting inflation for the number of years the property was held. This not only reduces capital gains but also increases the cost base.

    Formula for calculation of indexed tax for improvement: The expenses incurred for improvement x Cost Inflation Index (CII) for the year the property was sold divided by the CII of the year the improvement occurred.

    Formula for calculation of indexed tax for acquisition: The total expenses incurred for acquisition x CII of the year the property was sold divided by the CII of the year the property was initially acquired by the seller (or 2001-2002 whichever is later).

    FAQs on Capital Gains Tax

    1. What are the different types of income that are taxable under Capital Gains?
    2. Under Capital Gains, any profit that is made from a capital asset transfer during the year is taxable.

    3. Why are capital gains classified into long-term and short-term?
    4. Depending on the nature of the gain, the amount of tax that must be paid will vary. In order to determine the tax that must be paid, capital gains are differentiated into long-term capital gain and short-term capital gain. Therefore, the computation process varies for short-term capital gains and long-term capital gains.

    5. In the case of a short-term capital asset transfer, is there any indexation benefit when computing capital gain?
    6. No, the benefit of indexation is provided for only long-term capital assets and not for short-term capital assets.

    7. In case I have sold a house that I had purchased 4 years ago, should I pay tax on any profits that I have earned?
    8. If you sell a house, it comes under long-term capital assets. Therefore, any profit that is made is taxable under Capital Gains.

    9. Should I file any form in case I want to withdraw from the Capital Gain Account?
    10. Depending on the account you want to withdraw from, the form that must be filed will vary. In the case of Account-A, Form C must be deposited. In the case of Account-B, the amount must be transferred from Account-B to Account-A. This can be done by submitting Form B.

    11. Can I file for ITR 1 if my income falls under capital gains?
    12. No, you cannot file for ITR 1 if your income falls under capital gains. Instead, you can report the details of your income in ITR 2.

    13. What is the taxation rate of capital gains of mutual funds?
    14. The capital gains derived from selling debt mutual funds are taxed at the rate of 20% after indexation.

    15. How to calculate indexation?
    16. You can visit the official income tax website and use the Cost Inflation Index (CII) to calculate indexation.

    17. What is the period for debt mutual funds to be categorized as long term?
    18. Debt mutual funds can qualify as long-term gains if they are held for more than 36 months.

News About capital gains

  • Tax department to prefill capital gains, dividends from stock market transactions

    The revenue department is now looking to find information from stock exchanges and KYC Registration Agencies (KRAs) transactions related to share and stock.

    In an interview with Business Today, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said that the efforts are being made to automatically provide information to taxpayer on their capital gains from sale of stocks and mutual funds, dividends, that when a person is filing income tax returns, they are not required to manually fetch the data from different places in order to file their returns.

    05 January 2021

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