Investment Income

Updated on April 26, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Investment Income?

Investment Income is the income that is generated through dividends, payment of interest, and capital gains through the sale of any asset or security and profits made by any kind of investment vehicles like bonds, mutual funds, etc. Even income from interest on bank accounts, real estate or profits from sale of valuables fall in this catagory.

Investment Income

Generally, people earn a large quantity of their total income every year from their salary income but, properly planned savings and the investments in the financial markets can actually convert nominal savings into big portfolios of investment, which will surely yield that investor a good investment income over the time.

Key Takeaways

  • Investment income refers to the profits from investments, including interest, dividends, capital gains, and rental income. It is a vital component of overall investment returns.
  • Different investment types yield different forms of income. For example, bonds and fixed-income securities typically provide interest income, while stocks may generate dividends and capital gains.
  • Investment income can serve as a valuable source of passive income and contribute to long-term wealth accumulation. In addition, it can complement other income sources, such as employment earnings or business revenues.
  • The taxation of investment income varies based on the specific investment and relevant tax regulations. 

Investment Income Explained

This is an income that generates from interest, dividend, and capital gains. It is a good practice to keep investing in stocks, bonds or mutual funds, etc. people have at least a generation of income from these investments, which helps them in keeping up with their monetary needs or wants. Some investments help in tax saving also, which is an advantage to the common man. The chosen investments should be a wise choice that generates a wealthy return.

There are several types of investment incomes, out of which major ones include interest income, capital gain, and investment income dividends, etc.

Investment incomes help in saving taxes as there are much tax-free or tax saving investment schemes that attract investors to invest as they save a lot of tax for people.

The investor will be able to face inflation. For example, if a person has invested his funds in fixed-income generation investment, his income is fixed from his assets. Therefore, when rates are so high during inflation, he will be earning the same income and can spend it appropriately.

There is no investment income that is suitable for all individuals. It always varies from person to person depending on the earnings and investments. Investments like municipal bonds help in saving taxes but then give a very low return. They are suitable for individuals for those who cannot afford to take risk but need a stable return. Investment in stocks have a good return potential but also come with a very high risk.

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There are several types of investment incomes out of which major ones are explained below:


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#1 – Interest

A person will earn income as an interest in investments that generate interest in the deposition of funds into bonds, certificates of deposits, money market instruments, etc. earlier, the investors who are in need of some cash can withdraw money from their interest income without even disturbing the principal amount invested. But nowadays, the interest rates are very low hence;, it’s really difficult to expect the same return from dividend and interest on a consistent basis.

If a person utilizes the interest income either from cash, taxable bonds, or certificate of deposits, the same is taxed at the regular income tax rate. Additionally, if the investment is long-term, then that person is required to show the interest income earned in the income tax return even if you do not withdraw cash from that investment.

#2 – Dividends

Dividends are paid by the companies on the basis of their earnings to the shareholders or investors on a per-share basis of the stock. If the investment is in mutual funds that have funds into dividend stocks, then the investor earns a share of that company through dividends on a yearly or quarterly basis.

The taxes are to be paid on investment income dividends as well, and the regular tax rate applies to these Ordinary dividends, whereas there are some dividends labeled as “qualified” are taxed at a capital gains rate that is generally lower.

#3 – Capital Gains

A rise in the asset’s value, like in an investment on real estate or stock, which is more than its purchase price then, that increased value is the capital gain, but the same is realized only when the underlying asset is sold. The investor has to pay taxes on the capital gains according to the period of the gain, whether it is short term or long term capital gain. The long term holing of any investment is better than the short term as the tax rates are lower on long term capital gains.


The following are the different examples of investment income strategies:

#1 – Dividend

If an investor holds 100 shares in a corporate and that entity pays 50% of its earnings as dividends and says the earnings are Rs. 10 per share, therefore, the dividend amount is Rs. 5 per share, the investor, earns Rs. 500 per year i.e., 100 shares multiplied by Dividend Per Share Rs. 5.

#2 – Capital Gain

An investor “A” invests an amount of Rs. 1000 to buy 20 shares of a company selling at par i.e., Rs. 50. Next year the price of that share rises to Rs. 70 per share and  “A” decides to sell ten shares from his stock; then, his capital gain will be Rs. 200 [ 10 shares @ Rs. 70/ share = 700 less original price 10 shares @ Rs. 50/ share = Rs. 500 ].


All such incomes are not subject to taxes but most of them are when they are earned. The tax that will be charged depends on various factors like time period for which the investment has been held, what kind of investment it is, and the taxpayer’s financial condition.

Certain investments and the gains from them are exempted from tax. But the long term capital gains and income from dividends are taxed upto a maximum limit of 20%.

Such investment income strategies can be used alongside the income earned by individuals to reduce the total tax payable and offset the tax liability. Thus it is a method of getting tax credit.


The various advantages related to the aggregate investment income are as follows:

  • It helps in Building up Wealth – An investor will earn income over regular intervals, which he can further invest or reinvest in other or the same stock, property, or land.
  • Investment Income has Retirement Benefits – If a person has invested in any mutual funds, stocks, FDs, etc. they earn interest and dividend over it, which a person can use or further invest. By further, they earn an interest rate on a compounding basis, which will help them to have a great life post-retirement.
  • It helps in Achieving other Financial Goals – Last but not the least, the investment income can be utilized in completing other financial goals like saving this income for your child’s education, or nowadays there are EMI services for everything; therefore, the person can pay its installments through these extra incomes instead of their salary.


The various disadvantages related to the aggregate investment income are as follows:

  • Market Risk – The market is very fluctuating, and so the investor has no idea how much he will earn this year. Sometimes he can earn a good amount of income, and at times there can be a very low generation of income. It all depends on the market, and the investments are chosen by the investor, so he needs to think and then invest.
  • Choice of Investment – An investor has to choose amongst a variety of investment income portfolio to make sure that he earns a nice amount of income. If he chooses an investment with fixed income generation, he will never get a high return if the market is high and vice versa, so the asset choice is very important.
  • Application of Tax Rates – There are different tax rates on investment incomes. There are only a few investment incomes that are exempted from tax otherwise, all incomes attract tax. Some attract tax when they cross the amount limit of the income, and some differences in rates like in the short term and long term capital gain.

Thus, the various disadvantages of and investment income portfolio are mentioned in the points given above.

Investment Income Vs Capital Gains

Let us look at some differences between investment income and capital gains.

  • The former comes from making investments in sources that will provide interest, dividends, etc, but the latter is the gain from rise in investment value after purchasing it at a lower price.
  • Capital gain is obtained from selling assets like bonds or stocks whereas income from investment comes by earning the interest or dividend while still remaining invested.
  • The tax treatment is different for both of them. Capital gains tax will depend on whether it is for short or long term . in case of investment, interest is ordinary income and dividend may be qualified or ordinary.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the reinvestment of investment income? 

Reinvestment of investment income refers to the practice of using the earnings generated from an investment, such as dividends or interest, to purchase additional shares or assets within the same investment. This allows investors to compound their returns over time and potentially accelerate the growth of their investment portfolio.

2. What is meant by non-taxable investment income? 

Non-taxable investment income refers to earnings generated from certain investments exempt from taxation. Examples include municipal bond interest, certain types of retirement account earnings, and certain government bond interest. These investments offer tax advantages, potentially allowing investors to keep more of their investment income.

3. What is the importance of diversifying investment income? 

Diversifying investment income is crucial because it helps reduce risk and enhances the overall stability of a portfolio. Investing in various asset classes, industries, and geographic regions can mitigate the impact of any single investment’s poor performance. As a result, diversification allows for a more balanced and resilient investment strategy, potentially improving long-term returns.

This has been a guide to what is Investment Income. We explain its taxes with examples, differences with capital gains, types, advantages & disadvantages. You can learn more about investments from the following articles –

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