A brief guide on trading income

Trading is a skill that youngsters and even middle-aged people want to learn today. Turning towards the stock market enables people to create alternate sources of income.

The rise in trading trends in India has been fueled mainly due to the pandemic leading to job losses that left millions of people with little to do in the lockdown. Moreover, technology, including the rise of trading apps and social media—YouTube influencers, Twitter, and Telegram stock-tipping chat groups—has attracted more and more people.

According to the data released by CDSL & NSDL, the number of active Demat accounts in the country crossed the 100 million mark in August 2022. The growth can be attributed to factors such as an increase in smartphone usage, easier digital onboarding of customers, and attractive returns delivered by the equity markets.

Now let’s understand a few forms of trading that are available in the market.

  1. Intraday Trading: The concept of buying and selling shares on the same day.
  2. Delivery Trading: The concept of holding the shares for longer than a day.
  3. FnO Trading: Also commonly known as ‘Derivatives’, FnO is a financial contract, which derives its value from an underlying asset.

Income Head Classification:
Income from normal (delivery) trading is treated as Income from Capital Gains and hence reported in ITR 2, whereas income from intraday and FnO trading is treated as Income from Business & Profession u/s 43(5) of the Income Tax Act, and hence reported in ITR 3.

Taxation on Trading Income
Traders can file their taxes either under the regular scheme or under the presumptive scheme of taxation.

  • Regular Scheme of Taxation
    Small businesses and professionals can have some obstacles in their day-to-day work. Right from building up their brand value to getting customers, hiring a workforce, and renting an office space, the everyday operations of small businesses and professionals can be quite challenging.
    On top of it, the Income Tax Act also requires that these businesses or professions maintain regular books of account, get an audit done and calculate & pay tax on the actual profits earned. This can be a time-consuming and costly affair for small businesses.

Hence, the Government of India came up with the presumptive taxation scheme under Section 44AD, Section 44ADA, and, Section 44AE.

  • What is Presumptive taxation?
    Presumptive taxation was introduced by the Income Tax Act for small businesses & professionals in order to relieve them from maintaining books of accounts and hence getting them audited. It is an optional scheme

This means that delivery trading cannot be reported under the presumptive taxation scheme, only intraday and FnO trading can be reported under the presumptive scheme as they are considered as business income u/s 43(5) of the IT Act.

Another advantage of opting for presumptive taxation is that if the taxpayer has to pay advance tax, then instead of estimating and paying it every quarter, he can pay together by 15th March of the relevant financial year.

Tax Liability:
A trader can claim certain expenses incurred wholly and exclusively incurred for the purpose of trading in order to reduce the tax liability while filing his ITR. Read about the expenses a trader can claim in an ITR.

  1. Since FnO & Intraday trading is treated as business income, income from the same is taxable at slab rates as per the regime chosen under Income Tax Act.
  2. Tax on delivery trading is based on the duration of holding. Long-term Capital Gain (LTCG) and Short- term Capital Gain (STCG) are taxed at special rates. Read more about the taxation on Long-term and Short-term Gains

Tax Audit Applicability:
The tax audit applicability depends on the trading turnover. Along with the turnover limits there are certain other conditions attached to it as well in order to determine Tax audit applicability.

Read about Tax Audit on Intraday Trading and Tax Audit on FnO Trading

Set off & Carry Forward of Losses:

  • FnO is treated as non-speculative business income whereas intraday is treated as speculative business income.
  • STCL can be set off against STCG and LTCG whereas LTCL can only be set off against LTCG.
  • Non- speculative loss can be set off against all incomes except Salary in the year of loss incurred. Once it’s carried forward then it can be set off only against Business income. In contrast, a speculative loss can be set off only against speculative gains.
  • Any loss under the income head Capital Gains & Non-speculative Business income can be carried forward that remains after set off for 8 assessment years. Also, any loss under Speculative Business Income can be carried forward that remains after set off for 4 assessment years.
  • Note: The taxpayer can carry forward and set off the loss only if he/she has filed their ITR u/s 139(1) on or before the due date.

Read more about the set-off and carry-forward of losses.

Got questions? Shoot them here!

If my total taxable income ( after 80C deduction ) is less than 5 lacs do still i have to pay LTCG ?

LTCG: 376435
Business Income ( FnO ) : 257102.5
80C investment: 1.5 lacs

After 1.5 deduction my total income comes under 5 lacs. So do i have to pay any taxes ? Or LTCG calculated saperatly ?

Hi @Saroj_kumari,

Income up to Rs 2.5 lakh is exempt from tax.

Long-term capital gains (LTCG) are considered as special rate income. Hence, calculated separately. LTCG will be taxed at 10% after an exemption of ₹1 lakhs.

And no taxes would be levied on your business income (FnO) as after considering the deduction of ₹1.5 lakhs as 80C, the income is below the basic exemption limit of ₹2.5 lakhs.

Hope it helps.

Hello Team,
I do 2-3 businesses and file IT3 from last 3 years ,now I’ve also started to trade in Equity (Swing Trading).
But I’m confused , should i show the income from swing to STCG or I can show them in my PGPB head (with other business i,e. Intrady, F&O etc.)?
I’m doing frequent swing trading though.
Please advice.

Hi @Dheeraj_Bangari

Swing trading (segment equity cash) is a position that is held for a long period than a day, so, it will be considered STCG. Hence, you need to report it under Capital Gains.

If it would be your primary business then only it will be considered as B&P.

I am trading full-time for the past 9 months after quitting my job. Before that, I bought some stocks and sold them last month (holding->12 months) hence booked a LTCG of 4.8 lakhs. SO my details are:
LTCG: 5.8 L
STCG: -20k
F&O : 20k
total : 5.8 L

Since I am doing this full time now (and most probably for the next 2 financial years also), can I declare it under business income of 5.8 Lakhs.

I have also done a belated transfer of 2.25 Lakhs to my wife as salary (past 9 months *25000/month) yesterday (apr 6). Because accrual basis is followed in accounting statements in general, can I deduct this 2.25 lakhs paid to wife as an expense in FY23 and pay tax on 3.55 Lakhs only (5.8 minus 2.25)? Kindly guide me. Thanks!

Thanks for responding mam,
How to decide if it is my primary business or not?
Like I do trading almost consistently (Intraday, Option, Delivery).
And my other business (which is like selling services), is also contribute same as my trading business.

  1. Will there any problem if i show my delivery trades under business income (since 90%+ of my trades are going to be equity swing trades ,with per trade size of approx. 1-2 lac).

  2. Is there any problem if i wanna get GST ,so that i can claim additional benefits like TCS?

Hi @Dheeraj_Bangari

  1. It depends on your intent, if it’s your primary business or not, you’re doing swing trade for business purposes or to earn capital gains.
    As you stated, it covers 90% of swing trades, then, yes, you may consider it as Business Income.

  2. GST is not applicable on shares and securities.

Hope this helps.

Hi @M_Sridhar

In this case, since you are dealing in shares & securities, including FnO, you will be required to file ITR 3 as FnO trading is considered non-speculative business income. (Intraday trading is considered speculative business income)

For the total income, consider these points:

  1. STCL can be set off against both STCG & LTCG
  2. You can set off losses of only FnO losses against the capital gains as it is a non-speculative income. Speculative losses can be set off only against speculative income.

You can also deduct all the expenses incurred in relation to your business.
Read about the Expenses a Trader Can Claim in ITR - Learn by Quicko

Thank you for the reply.

So I guess that 5.8 lakhs can be reported as business income and tax paid as per tax slab (as opposed to paying LTCG of 10% on 4.8 lakhs). Can you confirm this please?

Thankyou so much for clearing the doubts.
For trading business we don’t allocate any particular amount so,is it a ggod idea if we we show our personal investments, loans etc. in the balance sheet since there isn’t any clear difference between me and the busniess?
what i generally do is ,i show my other incomes in Capital Account along with the required sunb heads like Interest income and then all my equity ,mutual funds, US investments , secured loans in the balance sheet.

i know this is little bit complicated But, if you can answer I’ll really appreciate that.

Hi @M_Sridhar

From the information given by you,
Income from Capital Gains shall be 5.6 lakhs (LTCG & STCL)
Income from Business shall be 20k (FnO)

Hope this helps.

I had added money in my zerodha account last financial year.
Due to quaterly settlement which happened this financial year , my unused funds have been given back in my account.

Will I have to pay taxes to government as these settled funds would be counted in my income for this financial year ?


The tax shall be levied on the amount of realized gains only.
Any non-invested amount credited back to the bank account from the Zerodha fund will not be taxed.

Hope this helps.

The financial year has changed.
If this settlement had happened till 31st March then it would be counted as settlement but due to change of year, will this be not counted as source of income for this financial year.

Please correct me if I am wrong?


No, the balance with the broker at the year-end is your asset, its withdrawal at the later date is not a new source of income. It is very similar to the balance in your bank account. The balance on 31 March is your asset on the said date on which tax is already paid and its withdrawal later date is not income generated.
Income will consist of realized gain on the sale of assets.