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.

BREAKING DOWN '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. Gain

    An increase in the value of an asset or property. A gain arises ...
  3. Taxes

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

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

    1. An increase in the value of a capital asset (investment or ...
  6. Realized Loss

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

    Is India the Next Emerging Markets Superstar?

    With a shift towards manufacturing and services, India could be the next emerging market superstar. Here, we provide a detailed breakdown of its GDP.
  5. Economics

    The Top 9 Things to Know About Hillary Clinton's Economic View

    Find out where former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stands on the economy, jobs, trade and education.
  6. Professionals

    Holding Out for Capital Gains Could Be a Mistake

    Holding stocks for the sole purpose of avoiding short-term capital gains taxes may be a mistake, especially if all the signs say get out.
  7. Term

    Estimating with Subjective Probability

    Subjective probability is someone’s estimation that an event will occur.
  8. Investing Basics

    Understanding the Modigliani-Miller Theorem

    The Modigliani-Miller (M&M) theorem is used in financial and economic studies to analyze the value of a firm, such as a business or a corporation.
  9. Economics

    Explaining Kurtosis

    Kurtosis describes the distribution of data around an average.
  10. Personal Finance

    Simple Interest Loans: Do They Exist?

    Yes, they do. Here is what they are – and how to use them to your advantage.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the utility function and how is it calculated?

    In economics, utility function is an important concept that measures preferences over a set of goods and services. Utility ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do gains from my 401(k) figure into my taxable income?

    Capital gains from a 401(k) account figure into taxable income in that capital gains are taxed at the ordinary income rate ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How can I use a regression to see the correlation between prices and interest rates?

    In statistics, regression analysis is a widely used technique to uncover relationships among variables and determine whether ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are the tax implications for both the company and investors in a divestiture ...

    In finance, divestiture is defined as a reduction of a company's assets as a result of asset closures or the selling of business ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the drawbacks of a small investor buying blue-chip stocks?

    Blue-chip stocks are generally safer for investors. However, their drawbacks for small investors include moderate growth ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do I calculate a modified duration using Matlab?

    The modified duration gauges the sensitivity of the fixed income securities to changes in interest rates. To calculate the ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Alligator Spread

    An unprofitable spread that occurs as a result of large commissions charged on the transaction, regardless of favorable market ...
  2. Tiger Cub Economies

    The four Southeast Asian economies of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Tiger cub economy indicates that ...
  3. Gorilla

    A company that dominates an industry without having a complete monopoly. A gorilla firm has large control of the pricing ...
  4. Elephants

    Slang for large institutions that have the funds to make high volumes trades. Due to the large volumes of stock that elephants ...
  5. Widow's Exemption

    In general terms, a widow's exemption refers to the amount that can be deducted from taxable income by a widow, thereby reducing ...
  6. Wedding Warrant

    A warrant that can only be exercised if the host asset, typically a bond or preferred stock, is surrendered. Until the call ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!