An increase in the value of an asset or property. A gain arises if the selling or disposition price of the asset is higher than the original purchase or acquisition price. This positive difference between the sale price and purchase price is referred to as the gross gain; if transaction costs such as commissions and other expenses are considered, this would be a net gain. A gain may either be realized, i.e., when the asset is actually sold, or unrealized, i.e., a paper gain. Another important distinction of a gain is that it may be taxable or non-taxable.


In most jurisdictions, realized gains are subject to capital gains tax. However, if the gains accrue in a non-taxable account - such as an Individual Retirement Account in the U.S. or a Registered Retirement Savings Plan in Canada - gains will not be taxed.

For taxation purposes, net realized gains - rather than gross gains - are taken into consideration. In a stock transaction in a taxable account,the taxable gain would be the difference between the (higher) sale price and purchase price, after taking brokerage commissions into consideration.

  1. Asset Accumulation

    The increase in the value of financial property and investments ...
  2. Phantom Gain

    A situation that arises when a gain on an investment is offset ...
  3. Taxable Gain

    A profit on the sale of an asset that is subject to taxation. ...
  4. Asset

    1. A resource with economic value that an individual, corporation ...
  5. Capital Loss

    The loss incurred when a capital asset (investment or real estate) ...
  6. Return On Capital Gains

    The return that one gets from an increase in the value of a capital ...
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