Capital Gains Documentation

John Ralls jralls at
Mon Oct 24 12:07:57 EDT 2016

While reviewing Chris Good's PR for documenting the Lots facility [1] I noticed that the Guide has a chapter on Capital Gains, one to which I hadn't paid any attention to before. 

While it has some reasonable general-purpose definitions of capital gains and a discussion of realized and unrealized gains it also conflates depreciation with unrealized gains and proposes an often incorrect accounting of unrealized gains, treating them as income with negative values for losses [2].

I'm inclined to move the general discussion about realized and unrealized gains to the Investments chapter and remove the rest. There's already a chapter on depreciation, so that part is superfluous in addition to being wrong. As the intro to the Capital Gains chapter notes, tracking unrealized gains is unusual; in fact it's generally done only by "investment companies" [3] and banks, neither of which are likely users of GnuCash.

Any thoughts?

John Ralls

[1] <>
[2] <> Provides a discussion of the usual treatment of unrealized gains/losses; the discussion after the article shows how this can be more complicated depending on the intended holding period for the securities.
[3] <>

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