Gross Profit vs Net Income: What’s the Difference?

Gross vs Net Income

Gross income is the amount of money you earn, typically in a paycheck, before payroll taxes and other deductions are taken out. It impacts how much you can borrow for a home, and it’s also used to determine your federal and Startup Bookkeeping Services Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and CFO Services state income taxes. Net income is what is leftover to spend and can be used to make a budget. Living expenses, bills, debt payments and other obligations should be budgeted out of net income rather than gross income.

If you’re a freelancer or independent contractor, clients typically don’t withhold taxes from payments made to your business. Your pay stubs should list your gross income, all of your deductions, and your net income for the most recent pay period, as well as for all payments you’ve received year to date. Gross profit or gross income is a key profitability metric since it shows how much profit remains from revenue after deducting production costs. Gross profit helps to show how efficient a company is at generating profit from producing its goods and services. Federal, state, and local taxes are often assessed after all expenses have been considered.


Adding a new dependent could reduce the amount of taxes you pay, therefore increasing your net income, for example. Medical expenses must exceed 7.5% of AGI to qualify for the deduction. In addition, deductions for cash contributions to charities are generally limited to 60% of AGI.

All of these expenses are standard above-the-line deductions that can take a while to sort through, but it is well worth taking advantage of every tax break you can find. Within the business realm, gross and net income can mean different things from business to business, depending on the type of business. Going back to our example, this employee would compute his annual net pay of $21,000. The Experian Smart Money™ Debit Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB), pursuant to a license from Mastercard International. Banking services provided by Community Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC. Jennifer’s jewelry company made $30,000 in profits this quarter, which she can invest back into the business.

What is gross income? How it works and why it’s important

Instead, your taxable income is known as your adjusted gross income (AGI). This is what you earn after subtracting “above-the-line” tax deductions from your gross income. After calculating your AGI, you’ll decide whether to take the standard deduction or itemize your tax-deductible expenses. Depending on your financial situation, one of the two options will reduce your taxable income more than the other. The tax that a small business pays for income tax isn’t directly related to its net income. Small business taxes are passed through onto the owner’s personal tax return.

If you also earned $5,000 in capital gains from stocks, you’d add that to your $50,000, for a gross income of $55,000. This is the amount you earn before any taxes are taken out of your paycheck. Gross income also includes investment income in the form of interest and dividends, as well as retirement income derived from retirement account withdrawals.

Budgeting 101

By subtracting Apple’s net sales by the total cost of goods sold, Apple reported a gross income of $42.559 billion. In regards to the individual’s federal income tax, let’s imagine the individual paid $500 in student loan interest for the prior year. When filing their tax return, the student loan interest is an above-the-line deduction used to factor adjusted gross income. Assuming the individual earned the same amount of money this year as last, the individual’s AGI is $86,000 ($86,500 – $500). Alternatively, the individual can calculate their monthly gross income is approximately $7,200. There are income sources that are not included in gross income for tax purposes but still may be included when calculating gross income for a lender or creditor.

Gross vs Net Income

Gross income is also good for business owners to gauge the effectiveness of their sales staff and set quotas and targets. But it doesn’t tell managers or owners whether they actually made or lost money over a given period of time. Gross income is a good metric for business owners to use for measuring their total sales and tracking over time. It’s also good for determining their market share, as well as trends and seasonality of their sales if there are some months, quarters, or days of the week that are stronger than others, for instance.

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