Phantom Gain

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Phantom Gain'

A situation that arises when a gain on an investment is offset by a loss in the same investment, which usually comes from an income tax provision. Phantom gains are named as such because there is no actual return, although it may initially seem otherwise.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Phantom Gain'

This is a difficult situation to identify because the losses may not be so apparent on the surface. For example, let's look at a bondholder who also receives coupon payments from the same bond.

If the bondholder receives a coupon payment totaling $150 during a one-year period and then sells the bond during the year for a loss of $130, the bondholder may believe that he or she has gained $20 during the year. However, the taxes the investor will pay on the coupon payment will reduce the net payment. Assume that the investor pays $30 in taxes on the coupon payment. This investor has a phantom gain of $20, but in reality he or she has lost $10.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Return On Investment - ROI

    A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment ...
  2. Taxes

    An involuntary fee levied on corporations or individuals that ...
  3. Capital Loss

    The loss incurred when a capital asset (investment or real estate) ...
  4. Gain

    An increase in the value of an asset or property. A gain arises ...
  5. Realized Loss

    A loss is recognized when assets are sold for a price lower than ...
  6. Rolling Returns

    The annualized average return for a period ending with the listed ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are employee share purchase plans?

    An employee stock purchase plan (ESPP) offers an incentive for employees to participate in their company's profitability ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How is the rule of 70 related to the growth rate of a variable?

    The rule of 70 is related to the growth rate of a variable because it uses the growth rate in its approximation of the number ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why are some spin-offs taxable and some are tax-free?

    The manner in which a parent company structures the spinoff and divests itself of a subsidiary or division determines whether ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are the benefits of using ceteris paribus assumptions in economics?

    Most, though not all, economists rely on ceteris paribus conditions to build and test economic models. The reason they do ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between income tax and capital gains tax?

    The conceptual difference between income tax and capital gains tax is that income tax is the tax paid on income earned from ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between the rule of 70 and the rule of 72?

    The rule of 70 and the rule of 72 give rough estimates of the number of years it would take for a certain variable to double. ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Tax Tips For The Individual Investor

    We give you seven guidelines to help you keep more of your money in your pocket.
  2. Taxes

    Using Tax Lots: A Way To Minimize Taxes

    The method of identifying cost basis can help you to get the most out of reduced tax rates.
  3. Taxes

    Unexpected 1099-R Form: What To Do

    Did your IRA custodian report distributions you thought were non-reportable? Find out what went wrong.
  4. Fundamental Analysis

    Calculating Future Value

    Future value is the value of an asset or cash at a specified date in the future that is equivalent in value to a specified sum today.
  5. Economics

    What is Deadweight Loss?

    Mainly used in economics, deadweight loss can be applied to any deficiency caused by an inefficient allocation of resources.
  6. Economics

    How to Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis

    The benefits of a given situation or business-related action are summed and then the costs associated with taking that action are subtracted.
  7. Fundamental Analysis

    Calculating the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI)

    The Herfindhal-Hirschman Index, (HHI) is a measure of market concentration and competition among market participants.
  8. Investing

    How To Implement A Smart Beta Investing Strategy

    Smart beta investing is the notion of re-writing investment rules to improve investment outcomes by targeting exposures to intuitive ideas or factors.
  9. Investing

    Market Crisis: Does Diversification Still Work?

    If you still aren’t sold on the benefits of international diversification, you may object that: Diversification didn’t work during the last market crisis.
  10. Economics

    Explaining the Value Chain

    A model of how businesses receive raw materials as input, add value to the raw materials, and sell finished products to customers.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Butterfly Spread

    A neutral option strategy combining bull and bear spreads. Butterfly spreads use four option contracts with the same expiration ...
  2. Unlevered Beta

    A type of metric that compares the risk of an unlevered company to the risk of the market. The unlevered beta is the beta ...
  3. Moving Average - MA

    A widely used indicator in technical analysis that helps smooth out price action by filtering out the “noise” from random ...
  4. Yield Curve

    A line that plots the interest rates, at a set point in time, of bonds having equal credit quality, but differing maturity ...
  5. Productivity

    An economic measure of output per unit of input. Inputs include labor and capital, while output is typically measured in ...
  6. Variance

    The spread between numbers in a data set, measuring Variance is calculated by taking the differences between each number ...
Trading Center