Holding Period

Written By
Paul Tracy
Updated August 12, 2020

What is a Holding Period?

Holding period refers to the time during which an investor holds a given security.

How Does a Holding Period Work?

The holding period for a security is defined as the elapsed time between the initial date of purchase and the date on which the security was sold. A short-term holding period is defined as less than one year while a long-term holding period is defined as one year plus one day and beyond.

To illustrate, the holding period for a security purchased on January 1, 2009 and sold on June 30, 2009 would be six months (short-term), while the holding period for an item purchased on January 1, 2009 and sold on January 31, 2010 would be 13 months, or one year and one month (long-term).

Why Does a Holding Period Matter?

The duration of a holding period is important for the purpose of calculating capital gains, as gains on long-term holdings are taxed differently than gains on short-term holdings.