How are profits from intraday and F&O trading taxed?

Everyone is turning towards the stock markets these days and trading is one skill that youngsters and even middle-aged people want to learn today in order to create an additional source of income.

There are various types of trading such as:

  1. Intraday trading: Buying and selling shares on the same day.
  2. Delivery-based trading: Holding shares for longer than a day.
  3. F&O trading: Trading financial derivatives and speculating on the price movements of an underlying asset without actually owning it.

How is income from trading categorised?

When you trade in segments like intraday and F&O, the profits are taxed as income from business.

Why? Because any activity done with the intention of earning profits is considered a business.

Hence, your trading income will be reported as “income from business or profession” head.

Now, depending on the nature of your trading activity, it is categorised into two types:

  • Speculative business income
  • Non-speculative business income

Intraday transactions are considered speculative since you trade without taking delivery of the contract, that is, the stocks are not delivered to your demat account. This is obviously quite risky and hence, profit from these trades is termed as speculative business income.

Income from other trading activities like delivery-based equity trades, F&O, commodity and currency trades falls under non-speculative business income.

How is income from trading taxed?

Income from trading, both speculative and non-speculative, is added to your overall income, which includes sources like salary, bank interest, rental income and other business income.

The taxes are then determined based on your applicable income tax slab. Here are the tax rates under both the new and the old regime for your reference.

Now, just like a regular business, you can claim expenses you incur related to your trading business like your electricity bills, office rent, internet bills, etc.

Here’s a list of expenses that a trader can claim.

You’ll be liable to pay taxes on the profits that you earn from trading, but what if you incur losses?

Setting off & carrying forward trading losses

Businesses are volatile and you can face losses. If you do so, you can do two things:

  1. Set off these losses with gains from other income sources in the same year.
  2. You can carry forward trading losses for a certain number of years and set them off against potential profits in the future.

But there are a few key considerations:

  • Non-speculative losses, such as those from F&O trades, can be set off against any other income head except salary income in the same financial year. This includes capital gains, interest income, rental income, etc.
  • You can carry forward non-speculative losses for 8 years but once carried forward, the losses can be set off only against other business income (including speculative and non-speculative).
  • Speculative losses, on the other hand, like those from intraday trading, can only be set off against other speculative profits.
  • Also, speculative losses can be carried forward for 4 years and set off only against future speculative profits.

Tax Audit Applicability

Every business is required to maintain books of accounts and financial statements, and so are traders. And tax “audit” basically means getting these books of accounts inspected by a practising CA.

The tax audit applicability depends on the trading turnover. Along with the turnover limits, there are certain other conditions attached to it as well to determine Tax audit applicability. Here’s a detailed read on tax audit applicability.

According to Section 44AB of the Income Tax Act, a business is required to have a tax audit carried out if the sales, turnover or gross receipts of the business exceed ₹1 crore in a financial year.

However, this threshold limit increases from ₹1 crore to ₹10 crore in case cash receipts and cash payments made during the year do not exceed 5% of the total receipts or payments.

Since intraday and F&O transactions are 100% digital in nature, the turnover limit for a tax audit is ₹10 crores for traders.

Which ITR form needs to be filed?

It is mandatory to file your ITR if you have any trading transactions. Moreover, if you have losses and want to carry them forward, you will have to file the ITR before the due date which is 31st July of the respective assessment year.

In case you fall under the Audit umbrella, you will have to get the audit done and submit the tax audit report on or before 30th September of the relevant assessment year. The last date to submit the ITR in this case will be 31st October.

Also, ITR 3 and ITR 4 are applicable for traders since income from trading is categorized as business income.

For the majority of the intraday and F&O traders, ITR 3 is applicable unless they have opted for the presumptive taxation scheme.

Switching between old and new regime

As the new regime has been made the default regime from 1st April 2023 onwards, if you decide you want to opt for the old regime, you will have to file form 10IEA to switch from the new regime to the old regime.

Here’s a video guide on taxation for traders.

If you have any further queries, ask us below!

1 Like

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.

I am an individual pensioner and doing only F&O option trading
I have losses for the FY
Can i set of the loss against interest earned on SB and FDR for thr FY
Is F&O trading or F&O option trading speculative or non speculative.
In ITR3 in which schedule should i fill the figures of turnover, profit and loss. Should i fill where it is provided books not maintained as turnover is less than 10Cr
Pls advise


You can set off the F&O losses against IFOS.
F&O is a non-speculative business income.

You are required to enter the details in Schedule BP.

Here’s how you can Import trades using Quicko template : Help Center if your broker is listed with us.

Madam, what about previous years’ business expenses? Can they be offset against this year’s IFOS?
(last year’s F&O was positive, say 1lak but last year’s expenses were 3 lak. So, total business LOSS of 2 lak. Can this be offset with this year’s IFOS of 5 Lak so that net income this year is (5-2)=3 Lak? Thank You.

Hi @M_Sridhar

You can claim all the expenses incurred in FY 2022-23 while filing your return for FY 2022-23/ AY 2023-24.
Please read about the rules to Set Off and Carry Forward of Losses under Income Tax - Learn by Quicko.