How to Calculate Capital Gains(CG)

Capital gains are the profits accrued through the sale of capital assets. The 2 types of capital gains are long-term and short-term. Long-term capital assets are those held for 36 months or more, while short-term assets are held for a shorter duration.

Capital gains arise when you sell capital asset for an amount that is more than what you paid for it. Capital assets are any investment products like mutual funds, stocks, or any real estate product like land, house, etc. An increase in the value of any of these when you sell them is termed as a capital gain. Similarly, a capital loss is suffered in case there is a decrease in the value of an asset for its purchase price.

A realized capital gain occurs only when you sell the asset at a higher price than its original purchase price.

Capital gains cannot be applied on a property that has been inherited. This is because an inherited property is a just a transfer of ownership rather than a sale. However, your inherited property will be subject to capital gains tax in case you sell it.

The tax rates on short-term capital gains and long-term capital gains are as follows.

Types of Tax Condition Tax Rate Applicable
Short-term capital gains tax Type Securities transaction tax applicable 15%
Securities transaction tax not applicable The short-term capital gain is added to a taxpayer’s income tax return and he will be taxed based on his income tax slab
Long-term capital gains tax Except when selling equity shares/equity-oriented fund units 20%
When selling equity shares/equity-oriented fund units 10% over and above Rs.1 lakh

Tax on Capital Gains

Calculation of tax is dependent upon the type of capital gain.

  • Calculation of tax on short-term capital gains is simpler than that on long-term gains. For short-term gains, the gain is added to the total income and then the Income Tax is calculated based on the tax bracket that you fall in.
  • Calculation of tax on long-term capital gains is a slightly trickier business. Since long-term capital assets are held for longer periods, inflation also factors in while computing tax on long-term capital gains.

Capital Gains Calculator

Calculating capital gains tax can be done using one of the online tools designed for the purpose. When calculating capital gains tax using a calculator, the following information is to be entered:

how to Calculate Capital Gains
Calculate Capital Gains
  • Sale price.
  • Purchase price.
  • Details of the purchase such as the date, month and year of the purchase.
  • Sale details such as the date, month and year of sale.
  • Investment details, if any. The capital gains could have been invested in shares, debt funds, equity funds, real estate, gold or fixed maturity plans.

Once you have entered the information, the following details will be generated towards the calculation of your capital gains payable:

  • The type of investment.
  • Type of gain (whether short or long-term).
  • Cost inflation index of the year of purchase.
  • Cost inflation index of the year of sale.
  • Difference between the purchase price and sale price.
  • Time between the purchase and sale.
  • Purchased index cost.
  • Long-term capital gain without indexation.
  • Long-term capital gain with indexation.

Capital Gains Formula for Calculation

  • Short-term Capital Gains Tax
  • In the case of short term capital gains, the computation is as given below:

    Short-term capital gain= full value consideration – (cost of acquisition + cost of improvement + cost of transfer).

  • Long-term Capital Gains Tax:
  • To calculate the long-term capital gains tax payable, the following formula is to be used:

    Long-term capital gain = full value of consideration received or accruing – (indexed cost of acquisition + indexed cost of improvement + cost of transfer), where:

    Indexed cost of acquisition = cost of acquisition x cost inflation index of the year of transfer/cost inflation index of the year of acquisition.

    Indexed cost of improvement = cost of improvement x cost inflation index of the year of transfer/cost inflation index of the year of improvement.

  • Capital Gains Rate
  • The rate at which capital gains is calculated varies from year to year. In the case of long-term capital gains, individuals are taxed at 20.6% (including education cess). There are no deductions that can be availed under capital gains tax.

    Short-term capital gains tax is levied at the tax slab under which the individual falls under.

  • Capital Gains Shares
  • In the case of shares and stocks, the rates differ from long-term and short-term capital gains tax. The capital gains rate for the financial year 2016-2017 is as given below:

    Short-term gains for stocks and mutual funds are taxed at 15%.

    Short-term capital gain on debt mutual funds is taxed as per the income slab of the individual.

    Long-term capital gains on debt mutual funds are taxed at 20% with indexation and at 10% without indexation.

    On February 1st, 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the introduction of long-term capital gain tax on sale of equity shares over Rs.1 lakh. The capital gains rate as per the Union Budget 2020 can be given as below:

    Long-term capital gains on equity shares are taxed at 10% without any indexation benefit.

    In the Interim Budget 2020, there are no changes made to the provisions that govern the long-term capital gains (LTCG) on the sale of stocks.

Cost Inflation Index(CII)

Cost Inflation Index (CII)is a term that comes into play when we talk about long-term capital gains. This index is fixed and is declared every year by the government. For calculating capital gains on long-term assets, indexation is used.

How to Calculate Capital Gains Tax using CII

CII or Cost Inflation Index is used in the computation of long-term capital gains tax. The CII is notified through a notification issued by the Income Tax Department each financial year. The CII for the financial year 2020-21 is 301. Individuals who are calculating their capital gains will have to use the CII in order to ascertain the indexed cost of acquisition, which is to be deducted from the full value in consideration.

Thus, the CII is applied to the cost of acquisition, following which the figure becomes the indexed cost of acquisition. Following this, the formula for computation of long-term or short-term capital gains is calculated.

When calculating the capital gains from the transfer of a long-term capital gains asset, a deduction can be claimed by indexing the cost of acquisition and the cost of improvement.

Example of Taxation on Long-Term Capital Gains (Real Estate)

  • Using Indexation:
  • Mr. Mishra bought a plot of land for Rs.10 lakh in the year 2005. After 10 years had elapsed, in January 2015, he sold off his land for Rs.30,00,000.

    Cost Inflation Index, CII= Index for financial year 2014-15/Index for financial year 2005-2006 = 1024/480 = 2.13

    Indexed cost of purchase = CII x Purchase Price = 2.13 x 10,00,000 = 21,30,000

    Long-term capital gain = Selling Price – Indexed cost = 30,00,000 – 21,30,000 = Rs.8,70,000

    Tax on capital gain = 20% of 8,70,000 = 1,74,000

  • Tax on capital gains without Indexation (for stocks and mutual funds):
  • There is an option of not going the complicated route of indexation and directly computing capital gain tax. In this case, only 10% of the non-indexed capital gain is charged as tax. Individuals are free to choose to use indexation and pay 20% tax or ignore indexation and pay 10% on their capital gains.

    Quick Tip: In case the asset (mutual fund, stocks) is held for a very long time and its value has multiplied manifold, chances are inflation wouldn’t affect profits drastically and as such it would be beneficial to pay 10% tax on the non-indexed gain instead of using indexation and paying 20%.

Tax Exemptions on Capital Gains

Government provides a number of exemptions which can be claimed on capital profits made. Here is a list of all the exemptions that can be claimed with respect to gains from capital assets.

  • Section 54 of the Income Tax Act entitles a person to tax exemption on profit earned if that entire profit amount is used to buy another house. The seller can buy a new house within 2 years from the date of sale of his previous property or construct a new house within 3 years from the date of sale.
  • Section 54 EC entitles an individual for tax exemption if the entire capital profit is invested in bonds issued by NHAI that is National Highway Authority of India or REC which is Rural Electrification Corporation. There is a limit to exemption under Section 54 EC and is Rs.50 lakh.
  • In case you can’t find the right property to buy and you are unable to come up with a concrete plan in 2-3 years, you still can save tax on the capital profit earned. This can be achieved by investing gains in the Capital Gains Accounts Scheme (CGAS) in any public sector bank. This amount can then be claimed for tax exemption. However, you are required to invest this money within the period stated by the bank else the deposit is treated as capital gain and tax is deducted on it.
  • In case you sell an agricultural land which is not within the limits of a civic body then tax is not levied on capital gain arising out of it.
  • Capital gains is not applicable to sale of property if the entire amount is invested to set up a small scale or a medium scale industry. However, to avail tax exemption, the tools and machinery for manufacturing should be bought within 6 months from date of sale.

For tax computations, capital losses can be used to offset the effect of tax on capital gains. However, long-term capital losses can be set off against long-term gains only. Short-term capital losses can be set off against short-term as well as long-term capital gains.

Quick Tip: Long-term capital losses can be carried forward to a maximum of 8 years and set off against long-term capital gains.

How do I avoid capital gains tax?

Some of the ways through which you can enjoy an exemption on the payment of capital gain tax are given below:

For long term capital gains tax:

  • Under Section 54, if you sell a property and reinvest the money in another property by buying or constructing at least two houses, then you will be exempted from paying the capital gain tax. However, in order to enjoy the exemption, the capital gains on the sale of the property must not exceed Rs.2 crore. You can avail this benefit only once in your life.
  • You can also get an exemption on the payment of capital gain tax by investing your capital gains in Capital Gains Account Scheme (CGAS).
  • Even if you have availed a home loan, tax on capital gains is exempted from being taxed if you used the amount to repay your loan.
  • Under Section 54EC of the Indian Income Tax Act, 1961, you can enjoy an exemption on the payment of capital gain tax. The maximum amount that you can invest is up to Rs.50 lakh. In order to claim the exemption, you will have to invest in this type of scheme before the final date of the filing of your income tax returns.

For short-term capital gain tax:

  • If an Indian citizen below the age of 60 years whose profit or total taxable income is below Rs.2.5 lakh will be exempted from paying the short-term capital gain tax.
  • Senior citizens aged between 60 years and 80 years will not be required to pay any tax if the total taxable income stays up to Rs.3 lakh.
  • Citizens above the age of 80 years will be exempted from paying the capital gain tax if the income stays within Rs.5 lakh.
  • Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) and Non-resident Indians (NRIs) will be exempted from paying the short-term capital gain tax if the total taxable income is up to Rs. 2.5 lakh only.

FAQs on Calculate Capital Gains

  1. How do I calculate capital gains tax on mutual funds?
  2. Short-term capital gains tax is payable at a rate of 10% on all holdings and Long-term capital gains tax is not payable on equity mutual funds, though the individual will have to declare income from the same when filing IT returns. Profits from the sale or transfer of non-equity or debt mutual funds will attract a tax of 20% with indexation benefit.

  3. How to calculate capital gains tax on property?
  4. In case of short-term capital gain, capital gain = final sale price – (the cost of acquisition + house improvement cost + transfer cost).

    In case of long-term capital gain, capital gain = final sale price – (transfer cost + indexed acquisition cost + indexed house improvement cost).

  5. Do long term capital gains count as income?
  6. Long-term capital gains won’t be taxed provided it meets certain criteria and the profit generated stays within the total taxable income. The income taxable will differ from people to people based on their age, income, etc. If the profit received exceeds the total taxable income, then it will be taxed.

  7. What incomes are charged to tax under the head “Capital Gains”?
  8. Income that are charged to tax under the head ‘Capital Gains’ are:

    • Any kind of property owned by you which may or may not be related to your business or profession will attract taxes on its sale and will be considered as a capital asset.
    • Any kind of securities held by any foreign investor in SEBI regulated securities will be considered income under capital gains.


    • Stocks, consumables, or raw materials to be used for business purposes.
    • Properties such as clothes or furniture to be used for personal use.
    • Agriculture land in India.
    • 6½% Gold Bonds, 7% Gold Bonds, or National Defence Gold Bonds.
    • Special Bearer Bonds.
    • Gold Deposit Bonds

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