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Capital Gains

Capital gains are the profits realized when an investment is sold for more than its original purchase price. They are often subject to capital gains tax, which varies based on whether they are considered short-term or long-term gains. In many jurisdictions, long-term capital gains are taxed at a lower rate to encourage long-term investment.

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Capital gains refer to the increase in value of an asset or investment from the time it is purchased to the time it is sold. Capital gains are realized when the asset is sold and the sale price exceeds the purchase price. This financial concept is commonly associated with investments such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and other tangible or intangible assets.


The purpose of tracking capital gains is to assess the profitability of an investment over a period of time. It helps investors make informed decisions about buying and selling assets, and it is crucial for tax purposes, as most jurisdictions require taxpayers to report capital gains and pay taxes on them.


If an investor buys shares in a company at $50 per share and sells them later when the price is $75 per share, the investor realizes a capital gain of $25 per share. The total capital gain depends on the number of shares sold.

Related Terms:

  • Capital Loss: The loss incurred when the selling price of an asset is less than its purchase price.

  • Short-Term Capital Gains: Gains on assets held for a short period, typically a year or less, which are usually taxed at a higher rate than long-term gains.

  • Long-Term Capital Gains: Gains on assets held for more than one year. These are often taxed at a lower rate to encourage long-term investment.

  • Capital Gains Tax: A tax on the profit realized on the sale of a non-inventory asset. The applicable rates and rules can vary significantly between different tax jurisdictions.


  1. How are capital gains taxed?

    Capital gains are typically taxed at different rates depending on how long the asset was held before it was sold. Most countries have favorable tax rates for long-term gains to encourage longer holding periods.

  2. Can capital gains be offset by capital losses?

    Yes, in many tax systems, capital losses can be used to offset capital gains, reducing the taxable amount. If losses exceed gains, the excess losses may sometimes be carried over to future years to offset gains in those years.

  3. What are the factors that influence capital gains?

    Factors can include market conditions, economic indicators, sector performance, and changes in regulations that affect asset values.

  4. Are all capital gains subject to tax?

    Not all capital gains are taxed. Some assets may qualify for exemptions or reduced rates depending on the owner’s tax status, the type of asset, or specific tax laws.

  5. How should an investor calculate capital gains?

    To calculate capital gains, subtract the purchase price of the asset (plus any fees or costs related to acquisition and sale) from the sale price of the asset.

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