For households and individuals, gross income is the sum of all wages, salaries, profits, interest payments, rents, and other forms of earnings, before any deductions or taxes. It is opposed to net income, defined as the gross income minus taxes and other deductions (e.g., mandatory pension contributions).
For a firm, gross income (also gross profit, sales profit, or credit sales) is the difference between revenue and the cost of making a product or providing a service, before deducting overheads, payroll, taxation, and interest payments. This is different from operating profit (earnings before interest and taxes).Gross margin is often used interchangeably with gross profit, but the terms are different. When speaking about a monetary amount, it is technically correct to use the term gross profit; when referring to a percentage or ratio, it is correct to use gross margin. In other words, gross margin is a percentage value, while gross profit is a monetary value.
The various deductions (and their corresponding metrics) leading from net sales to net income are as follows:
(Note: Cost of goods sold is calculated differently for a merchandising business than for a manufacturer.)
In United States income tax law, gross income serves as the starting point for determining Federal and state income tax of individuals, corporations, estates and trusts, whether resident or non-resident.
Under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, "Except as otherwise provided" by law, gross income means "all income from whatever source derived," and is not limited to cash received.Federal tax regulations interpret this general rule. The amount of income recognized is generally the value received or the value which the taxpayer has a right to receive. Certain types of income are specifically excluded from gross income for tax purposes.
The time at which gross income becomes taxable is determined under Federal tax rules, which differ in some cases from financial accounting rules.
Individuals, corporations, members of partnerships, estates, trusts, and their beneficiaries ("taxpayers") are subject to income tax in the United States. The amount on which tax is computed, taxable income, equals gross income less allowable tax deductions.
The Internal Revenue Code gives specific examples.The examples are not all inclusive. The term "income" is not defined in the statute or regulations. An early Supreme Court case stated, "Income may be defined as the gain derived from capital, from labor, or from both combined, provided it is understood to include profit gained through a sale or conversion of capital assets." The Court also held that the amount of gross income on disposition of property is the proceeds less the basis (usually, the acquisition cost) of the property.
Gross income is not limited to cash received. "It includes income realized in any form, whether money, property, or services."
Following are some of the things that are included in income:
Gifts and inheritances are not considered income to the recipient under U.S. law.However, gift or estate tax may be imposed on the donor or the estate of the decedent.
A taxpayer must include Income as part of taxable income in the year recognized under the taxpayer's method of accounting. Generally, a taxpayer using the cash method of accounting (cash basis taxpayer) recognizes income when received. A taxpayer using the accrual method (accrual basis taxpayer) recognizes income when earned. Income is generally considered earned:
For a cash method taxpayer, the measure of income is generally the amount of money or fair market value of property received. For an accrual method taxpayer, it includes the amount the taxpayer has a right to receive.
Certain specific rules apply, including:
The value of goods or services received is included in income in barter transactions.
The courts have given very broad meaning to the phrase "all income from whatever source derived," interpreting it to include all income unless a specific exclusion applies.Certain types of income are specifically excluded from gross income. These may be referred to as exempt income, exclusions, or tax exemptions. Among the more common excluded items are the following:
There are numerous other specific exclusions. Restrictions and specific definitions apply.
Some state rules provide for different inclusions and exclusions.
United States persons (including citizens, residents (whether U.S. citizens or aliens residing in the United States), and U.S. corporations) are generally subject to U.S. federal income tax on their worldwide income. Nonresident aliens are subject to U.S. federal income tax only on income from a U.S. business and certain income from United States sources. Source of income is determined based on the type of income. The source of compensation income is the place where the services giving rise to the income were performed. The source of certain income, such as dividends and interest, is based on location of the residence of the payor. The source of income from property is based on the location where the property is used. Significant additional rules apply.
Nonresident aliens are subject to regular income tax on income from a U.S. business or for services performed in the United States.Nonresident aliens are subject to a flat rate of U.S. income tax on certain enumerated types of U.S. source income, generally collected as a withholding tax. The rate of tax is 30% of the gross income, unless reduced by a tax treaty. Nonresident aliens are subject to U.S. federal income tax on some, but not all capital gains. Wages may be treated as effectively connected income, or may be subject to the flat 30% tax, depending on the facts and circumstances.
The United States of America has separate federal, state, and local governments with taxes imposed at each of these levels. Taxes are levied on income, payroll, property, sales, capital gains, dividends, imports, estates and gifts, as well as various fees. In 2010, taxes collected by federal, state, and municipal governments amounted to 24.8% of GDP. In the OECD, only Chile and Mexico are taxed less as a share of their GDP.
An income tax is a tax imposed on individuals or entities (taxpayers) in respect of the income or profits earned by them. Income tax generally is computed as the product of a tax rate times the taxable income. Taxation rates may vary by type or characteristics of the taxpayer and the type of income.
Tax deduction is a reduction of income that is able to be taxed and is commonly a result of expenses, particularly those incurred to produce additional income. Tax deductions are a form of tax incentives, along with exemptions and credits. The difference between deductions, exemptions and credits is that deductions and exemptions both reduce taxable income, while credits reduce tax.
Under United States tax law, itemized deductions are eligible expenses that individual taxpayers can claim on federal income tax returns and which decrease their taxable income, and is claimable in place of a standard deduction, if available.
A corporate tax, also called corporation tax or company tax, is a direct tax imposed by a jurisdiction on the income or capital of corporations or analogous legal entities. Many countries impose such taxes at the national level, and a similar tax may be imposed at state or local levels. The taxes may also be referred to as income tax or capital tax. Partnerships are generally not taxed at the entity level. A country's corporate tax may apply to:
Tax exemption is the reduction or removal of a liability to make a compulsory payment that would otherwise be imposed by a ruling power upon persons, property, income, or transactions. Tax-exempt status may provide complete relief from taxes, reduced rates, or tax on only a portion of items. Examples include exemption of charitable organizations from property taxes and income taxes, veterans, and certain cross-border or multi-jurisdictional scenarios.
In the United States income tax system, adjusted gross income (AGI) is an individual's total gross income minus specific deductions. It is used to calculate taxable income, which is AGI minus allowances for personal exemptions and itemized deductions. For most individual tax purposes, AGI is more relevant than gross income.
Three key types of withholding tax are imposed at various levels in the United States:
A gift tax is a tax imposed on the transfer of ownership of property during the giver's life. The United States Internal Revenue Service says that a gift is "Any transfer to an individual, either directly or indirectly, where full compensation is not received in return."
The Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) is the current tax depreciation system in the United States. Under this system, the capitalized cost (basis) of tangible property is recovered over a specified life by annual deductions for depreciation. The lives are specified broadly in the Internal Revenue Code. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publishes detailed tables of lives by classes of assets. The deduction for depreciation is computed under one of two methods at the election of the taxpayer, with limitations. See IRS Publication 946 for a 120-page guide to MACRS.
An S corporation, for United States federal income tax, is a closely held corporation that makes a valid election to be taxed under Subchapter S of Chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code. In general, S corporations do not pay any income taxes. Instead, the corporation's income and losses are divided among and passed through to its shareholders. The shareholders must then report the income or loss on their own individual income tax returns.
Income taxes in the United States are imposed by the federal, most states, and many local governments. The income taxes are determined by applying a tax rate, which may increase as income increases, to taxable income, which is the total income less allowable deductions. Income is broadly defined. Individuals and corporations are directly taxable, and estates and trusts may be taxable on undistributed income. Partnerships are not taxed, but their partners are taxed on their shares of partnership income. Residents and citizens are taxed on worldwide income, while nonresidents are taxed only on income within the jurisdiction. Several types of credits reduce tax, and some types of credits may exceed tax before credits. An alternative tax applies at the federal and some state levels.
International taxation is the study or determination of tax on a person or business subject to the tax laws of different countries, or the international aspects of an individual country's tax laws as the case may be. Governments usually limit the scope of their income taxation in some manner territorially or provide for offsets to taxation relating to extraterritorial income. The manner of limitation generally takes the form of a territorial, residence-based, or exclusionary system. Some governments have attempted to mitigate the differing limitations of each of these three broad systems by enacting a hybrid system with characteristics of two or more.
Tax consolidation, or combined reporting, is a regime adopted in the tax or revenue legislation of a number of countries which treats a group of wholly owned or majority-owned companies and other entities as a single entity for tax purposes. This generally means that the head entity of the group is responsible for all or most of the group's tax obligations. Consolidation is usually an all-or-nothing event: once the decision to consolidate has been made, companies are irrevocably bound. Only by having less than a 100% interest in a subsidiary can that subsidiary be left out of the consolidation.
Under U.S. federal tax law, the tax basis of an asset is generally its cost basis. Determining such cost may require allocations where multiple assets are acquired together. Tax basis may be reduced by allowances for depreciation. Such reduced basis is referred to as the adjusted tax basis. Adjusted tax basis is used in determining gain or loss from disposition of the asset. Tax basis may be relevant in other tax computations.
Corporate tax is imposed in the United States at the federal, most state, and some local levels on the income of entities treated for tax purposes as corporations. Since January 1, 2018, the nominal federal corporate tax rate in the United States of America is a flat 21% due to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. State and local taxes and rules vary by jurisdiction, though many are based on federal concepts and definitions. Taxable income may differ from book income both as to timing of income and tax deductions and as to what is taxable. The corporate Alternative Minimum Tax was also eliminated by the 2017 reform, but some states have alternative taxes. Like individuals, corporations must file tax returns every year. They must make quarterly estimated tax payments. Groups of corporations controlled by the same owners may file a consolidated return.
A foreign tax credit (FTC) is generally offered by income tax systems that tax residents on worldwide income, to mitigate the potential for double taxation. The credit may also be granted in those systems taxing residents on income that may have been taxed in another jurisdiction. The credit generally applies only to taxes of a nature similar to the tax being reduced by the credit and is often limited to the amount of tax attributable to foreign source income. The limitation may be computed by country, class of income, overall, and/or another manner.
The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (FIRPTA), enacted as Subtitle C of Title XI of the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1980, Pub. L. No. 96-499, 94 Stat. 2599, 2682, is a United States tax law that imposes income tax on foreign persons disposing of US real property interests. Tax is imposed at regular tax rates for the taxpayer on the amount of gain considered recognized. Purchasers of real property interests are required to withhold tax on payment for the property. Withholding may be reduced from the standard 15% to an amount that will cover the tax liability, upon application in advance of sale to the Internal Revenue Service. FIRPTA overrides most nonrecognition provisions as well as those remaining tax treaties that provide exemption from tax for such gains.
Under U.S. Federal income tax law, a net operating loss (NOL) occurs when certain tax-deductible expenses exceed taxable revenues for a taxable year. If a taxpayer is taxed during profitable periods without receiving any tax relief during periods of NOLs, an unbalanced tax burden results. Consequently, in some situations, Congress allows taxpayers to use the losses in one year to offset the profits of other years.
The alternative minimum tax (AMT) is a tax imposed by the United States federal government in addition to the regular income tax for certain individuals, estates, and trusts. As of tax year 2018, the AMT raises about $5.2 billion, or 0.4% of all federal income tax revenue, affecting 0.1% of taxpayers, mostly in the upper income ranges.
Standard US tax texts:
US IRS materials: