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Updated on July 18, 2023

Goodwill represents the intangible value of a business, including its reputation, customer relationships, brand value, and other factors that contribute to its earning capacity. It is an intangible asset that enhances a business’s value and distinguishes it from its competitors.

How is goodwill taxed?

The calculation of goodwill can seem to be straightforward. However, it requires careful consideration and valuation as per applicable accounting policies and agreement between the buying and selling entities of the business. Under the Indian Income Tax Act, goodwill is considered to be a capital asset. The tax treatment of goodwill depends on whether it is self-generated or acquired through purchase.

a. Self-generated Goodwill: If goodwill is internally generated by the business, it is not considered a taxable capital asset. Therefore, any gains arising from the transfer of self-generated goodwill are generally not subject to tax.

b. Purchased Goodwill: When a business is acquired, and goodwill is acquired as part of the transaction, the tax treatment depends on various factors such as the nature of the transaction, the accounting method used, and the period of acquisition.

Mode of Taxation

Amortization – The Income Tax Act allows the amortization of purchased goodwill over a specified period. The amortization expense can be claimed as a deduction against taxable profits over the amortization period.

Transfer of Goodwill: If the acquired goodwill is subsequently transferred or sold, any gains arising from such transfer will be taxable as capital gains.