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Purchase Price In Finance: Effect on Capital Gains


In finance, the Purchase Price refers to the amount an investor pays for an investment. The purchase price is significant for capital gains calculation as it forms the cost basis, being the original value of an asset for tax purposes. The difference between the selling price and the purchase price, in a net positive scenario, constitutes the capital gains on the investment, and is subject to capital gains tax.


“Purchase Price In Finance: Effect on Capital Gains” in phonetics would be:Pur-chase Price In Fi-nance: E-ffect on Cap-i-tal GainsHere is a more detailed phonetic breakdown:`Pur-chase`: /ˈpɜːr.tʃəs/`Price`: /praɪs/ `In`: /ɪn/ `Fi-nance`: /fɪˈnæns/ or /faɪˈnæns/ `Effect`: /ɪˈfɛkt/ `on`: /ɒn/`Cap-i-tal`: /ˈkæp.ɪ.təl/ `Gains`: /ɡeɪns/Please note that the phonetic transcription will slightly vary depending on the accent/dialect of English being used.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cost Basis Definition: One of the key terms in understanding the effect of purchase price on capital gains is “cost basis”. In finance, cost basis typically refers to the original value of an asset for tax purposes, which is most often the purchase price of the asset.
  2. Impact on Capital Gains: The purchase price or cost basis is significant because it directly influences your capital gains. The capital gain (or loss) is determined by subtracting the asset purchase price (cost basis) from its selling price. The higher the purchase price, the lower the capital gains, and vice versa.
  3. Tax Implications: Understanding how your purchase price affects capital gains is important for tax reasons. The higher your capital gains, the greater the amount you might owe in taxes. So a higher purchase price can ultimately save you money in tax payments by keeping capital gains down.


The term “Purchase Price” is crucial in finance as it directly impacts capital gains, which are a key component of income and taxation. The purchase price of an asset, such as stocks, bonds, or real estate, forms the baseline or cost basis for calculating capital gains when the asset is sold. The difference between the sale price and the purchase price is the capital gain or loss. If the sale price is higher than the purchase price, a capital gain occurs, and the investor has to pay taxes on this gain. Therefore, understanding the purchase price’s implications can help in effective tax planning and optimizing investment returns.


In the world of finance and business, the term ‘Purchase Price’ has a significant impact on calculating capital gains. The purchase price, often known as the acquisition cost or cost basis, refers to the original amount paid to acquire an asset or investment. It forms the base value from which the capital gain or loss of a sold asset is computed. The purpose of acknowledging the purchase price is to determine the accurate amount of tax owed on the profits made from the sale of an asset, which aids in maintaining financial transparency and legal accuracy.Capital gains, on the other hand, refer to the profits generated from the sale of an investment or asset. The difference between the purchase price and the selling price of an asset determines the capital gain or loss. A higher purchase price implies lower capital gains and, consequently, lower capital gains tax, while a lower purchase price would increase capital gains and the associated tax. Therefore, accurate recording and understanding of the purchase price in financial transactions are crucial for ensuring appropriate tax computation and further financial planning.


1. Real Estate Purchase: For instance, let’s say Joe purchases a house for $200,000 and sells it several years later for $350,000. The purchase price of $200,000 is used to calculate the capital gains from the sale. The capital gain in this case would be the selling price minus the purchase price, or $350,000 – $200,000 which equals to $150,000.2. Stock Market Investment: If an investor buys a stock in a company for $10 per share and later sells it for $25 per share, the capital gain on each share would be $15 ($25 – $10). If they bought 100 shares, their total capital gain would be $1,500. In this case, the purchase price plays a key role in determining the capital gains from the sale of the stock.3. Artwork or Collectible Sales: For example, Carol buys a rare painting for $1,000 and seven years later she sells it for $5,000. Here, the capital gain would be the difference in the selling price and purchase price, which is $4,000 ($5,000 – $1,000). The original purchase price is integral to calculating her capital gains.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the purchase price in finance terminology?

The purchase price in finance refers to the original cost of an asset or investment. This is the price at which an asset or securities were bought.

How does the purchase price affect capital gains in finance?

Capital gains are calculated by subtracting the purchase price or ‘cost basis’ from the asset’s selling price. If the selling price is higher than the purchase price, a capital gain is realized. Conversely, if the purchase price is higher than the selling price, a capital loss occurs.

Can a change in purchase price affect my tax obligations regarding capital gains?

Yes, a change in purchase price could affect your tax obligations. Capital gains are taxable, so a higher purchase price can lower your capital gains, consequently reducing your tax liability.

How is the effect of purchase price on capital gains significant in business finance?

The effect is significant because it determines the profit or loss from an investment. Businesses aim for capital gain for profitable outcomes, hence they might strategize their purchase prices accordingly.

Can depreciation influence the purchase price’s effect on capital gains?

Yes. If you depreciate an asset over time for tax purposes, it reduces your cost basis or purchase price. When you sell that asset, the depreciation will increase your net capital gain.

What happens when the purchase price is equal to the selling price?

If the purchase price equals the selling price, there is neither a capital gain nor a loss. However, transactional or broker charges might still cause a financial implication.

What is the relationship between purchase price, selling price and capital gains?

The purchase price and selling price are the two primary factors in calculating capital gains. Subtracting the purchase price from the selling price gives the capital gain or loss.

Related Finance Terms

  • Capital Gains Tax: This is a tax on the profit realized from the sale of a non-inventory asset that was greater than the amount realized on the sale.
  • Cost Basis: In terms of capital gains, the cost basis, usually the purchase price, is the price used to determine the taxable gain or loss.
  • Disposition of Assets: This refers to the act of disposing of assets through sale, exchange, abandonment, or other means. How this is done can affect capital gains.
  • Principal Residence Exemption: This is a tax provision allowing for the exclusion of capital gains from the sale of a primary personal residence.
  • Realized Gain: The amount by which the selling price of an asset exceeds its original purchase price, before accounting for taxes or fees.

Sources for More Information

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