Any profit or gain that emerges from the sale of a ‘capital asset’ which can be either property or any investment, is called as capital gain. This gain or profit falls under the category of income, so you will have to pay tax for that amount in the year in which the transfer of the capital asset takes place. This is called as the capital gains tax, and it can be short-term or long-term.
Capital gains are not applied to an inherited property as there is no sale of the asset and only a transfer of ownership. Assets received as gifts by way of inheritance or will has been exempted by The Income Tax Act. But if the person who inherited the asset decides to sell it, capital gains tax will be applicable.
Any Land, building, house or property, vehicles, patents, trademarks, leasehold rights, machinery, jewellery comes under the capital assets. It also includes having rights in or in relation to an Indian company.
This is broadly divided into two categories – Short term and Long Term Capital assets.
For instance, if you sell any house or property after holding it for a minimum period of 24 months, any income arising will be treated as long-term capital gain provided that property is sold after the financial year end as on 31st March 2017.
Some assets are considered short-term capital assets even if they are held for 12 months or less. This is applicable if the date of transfer is post 10th July 2014 (where the date of purchase is not relevant).
If an asset is acquired by gift, will, succession or inheritance, the period for which the asset was held by the previous owner is also included while determining if it’s a short term or a long-term capital asset. For bonus and rights shares, the period of holding is counted from the date of allotment of bonus shares or rights shares respectively.
Gains from the sale of debt funds and equity funds are managed differently. Any fund that invests heavily in equities which are more than 65% of their total portfolio is called an equity fund.
Debt Funds –
To be qualified as a long term capital asset, any Debt mutual funds have to be held for more than 36 months. So you have to remain invested in these funds for at least 3 years to get the benefit of long-term capital gains tax. If redeemed within 3 years, the capital gains will be included in your income and taxed as per your income tax slab rate.