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Sovereign Gold Bonds and Their Taxability

25 February 2024 4 min read
Sovereign Gold Bonds and Their Taxability

Have you considered investing in Sovereign Gold Bonds? 

With physical gold trading at high prices, these government-issued bonds tied to the value of gold provide an alternative for investments in the yellow metal. 

Given its safety, ease of investment, and lower costs compared to physical gold, these bonds issued by the Reserve Bank of India provide favourable tax treatment to long-term investors.

But how exactly are they taxed? What are the tax implications of holding them until maturity versus selling them prematurely? 

Does trading them on exchanges attract additional taxes? Before investing, it’s key to evaluate the tax structure of SGBs. 

Let’s explore the taxation of Sovereign Gold Bonds and how they could potentially optimise your investment in gold.

A Brief History

The Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) Scheme, introduced by the Government of India in November 

2015, offers an alternative to investing in physical gold. Designed to reduce the physical demand for gold, SGBs serve as government securities with their value tied to the gram of gold, aiming at ensuring both safety and transparency for investors. These bonds have gained popularity as a substitute for physical gold, given their safety, ease of investment through SEBI-authorised agents, and the convenience of electronic or dematerialized forms.

Advantages of Investing in SGBs

SGBs stand out for several reasons, primarily for their safety and the elimination of risks and costs associated with the storage of physical gold. Investors are guaranteed the market value of gold at maturity, along with periodic interest payments, making SGBs a hassle-free alternative to owning physical gold. With the latest series available for subscription, these bonds are attracting investors for their low cost relative to physical gold and the convenience of electronic ownership.


Points Physical Gold Gold ETF Sovereign Gold Bonds
Returns Lower than actual return on gold Lower than actual return on gold Higher than actual return on gold as it give interest as well.
Safety Risk on handling physical gold High High
Purity of Gold Purity of gold always remains a question High as it is in electronic form High as it is in electronic form
Capital Gain Applicable Applicable No capital gain tax if held till maturity, Applicable if sold in secondary market 
Collateral against Loan Yes No Yes
Storage Cost High Very low Very low

Tax Implications for SGB Investors

Understanding the taxability of SGBs is crucial for investors. While the annual interest of 2.5% on SGBs is taxable according to the investor’s tax slab, the capital gains from these bonds are treated favourably under tax laws.

What are tax applications on Interest Income?

The fixed interest paid semi-annually on SGBs is taxable at the investor’s income tax rate.

What about taxability on Capital Gains at Maturity?

For those holding SGBs until maturity (eight years, but can be less if bought from secondary markets), no capital gains tax is levied on the maturity proceeds, making it an attractive long-term investment.

What is taxability in case of Premature Withdrawal?

Selling SGBs before maturity subjects the capital gains to tax. However, indexation benefits apply if the bonds are held for more than three years, potentially reducing the tax liability.

What about Transactions on Stock Exchanges?

Sales of SGBs on stock exchanges attract the Securities Transaction Tax (STT), adding a layer of tax implications for traders.

Comprehensive Overview of Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs):

Issuance and Reliability:

Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs) are officially issued by the Reserve Bank of India on behalf of the Government of India, ensuring a high level of trust and authenticity that is sometimes missing in physical gold due to concerns about purity.

Unit and Investment Thresholds:

The units of SGBs are measured in grams of gold, with the smallest unit being 1 gram. Investors can start with a minimum of 1 gram, and the maximum investment limit for individual investors is set at 4 kg per financial year.

Pricing Structure:

The pricing of SGBs is determined based on the average closing price of 999 pure gold over the last three business days from the subscription period’s start, as reported by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Ltd (IBJA).

Duration and Redemption:

These bonds come with an eight-year tenure, but offer flexibility with an early exit option available from the fifth year on the dates when interest is paid.

Regular Income through Interest:

SGBs pay a fixed annual interest of 2.50%, distributed semi-annually on the bond’s face value. This feature provides a steady income stream, unlike holding physical gold.

Loan Collateral:

An SGB can be used as collateral for loans, enhancing its liquidity and usefulness in financial planning.


These bonds are tradable on stock exchanges, offering an avenue for liquidity before the end of the maturity period.

Security Against Theft:

Given their electronic or paper form, SGBs remove the risks associated with the theft or loss of physical gold, not to mention eliminating storage costs.

Is SGB Suitable for Your Investment Portfolio?

SGBs are an excellent choice for those seeking a long-term investment avenue, wish to diversify their portfolio or plan to accumulate gold for future needs. It’s crucial to align such investments with your financial objectives and risk appetite.

The Optimal Time to Invest in SGBs:

In times of financial volatility and rising inflation, SGBs emerge as a stable and potentially lucrative investment option. The current subscription window provides a favourable opportunity for investors to enter the market.


Sovereign Gold Bonds present a compelling option for investors aiming to diversify their portfolio with gold. With tax benefits on interest income and capital gains, especially for long-term investors, SGBs combine the security of a government bond with the intrinsic value of gold, making it a prudent choice for those seeking low-risk investments in the precious metal.

Please note,

The views in the article /blog are personal and that of the author. The idea is to create awareness and not intended to provide any product recommendations.


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