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Gross Income vs. Net Income: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 24, 2023
Gross income is total earnings before deductions, while net income is what remains after all deductions.

Key Differences

Gross income refers to the total revenue obtained from a particular source, without any deductions. Net income, on the other hand, is the amount that remains after all expenses and deductions have been subtracted from the gross income.
Gross income serves as a starting point for determining profitability. Net income, in contrast, gives a more accurate picture of an entity's actual profitability after all operational costs, taxes, and other expenses have been accounted for.
When analyzing the financial health of a business, gross income provides insight into top-line revenue. Meanwhile, net income offers a bottom-line perspective, showcasing what the business truly earned after all expenditures.
For individuals, gross income might comprise salary, bonuses, and any other earnings. Net income, however, would be the take-home pay after taxes, social security, and other deductions.
Gross income can often look impressive, especially for large businesses. Yet, net income is often seen as a truer reflection of financial health since it takes into account all outgoing expenses.

Comparison Chart


Total revenue before any deductions.
Earnings left after all expenses deducted.


Top-line revenue or earnings.
Bottom-line profitability.


Salary, bonuses, interest, rent, etc.
Income after taxes, benefits, etc.


Sum of all revenue sources.
Gross income minus all expenses.


Initial earning estimate.
True representation of financial health.

Gross Income and Net Income Definitions

Gross Income

Gross income doesn't consider expenses or taxes.
Example: Despite a high gross income, his take-home pay was significantly less.

Net Income

Net income considers all outgoings, including taxes.
Example: Her impressive salary led to a solid net income even after tax deductions.

Gross Income

Gross income is the total earnings before any deductions.
Example: Her gross income from the job was $60,000 annually.

Net Income

Net income showcases the bottom-line earnings.
Example: Investors were pleased with the consistent growth in net income.

Gross Income

Gross income provides an initial gauge of financial inflow.
Example: The project's gross income surpassed expectations.

Net Income

Net income is the remaining earnings after all expenses.
Example: After accounting for all costs, the net income was surprisingly low.

Gross Income

Gross income represents all revenue sources combined.
Example: The company's gross income soared this quarter due to increased sales.

Net Income

Net income indicates the actual profit made.
Example: The company's net income gives a clear picture of its profitability.

Gross Income

Gross income is the top-line revenue figure.
Example: Investors often look at gross income to assess a company's earning potential.

Net Income

Net income is a truer reflection of financial health.
Example: Despite high revenues, the firm's net income revealed underlying issues.


How do taxes relate to these terms?

Taxes are typically subtracted from gross income to determine net income.

What is gross income?

Gross income is the total earnings before any deductions.

Can a company have a high gross income but low net income?

Yes, if a company has high expenses, its net income can be much lower than its gross income.

What can affect a decrease in net income?

Higher expenses, increased taxes, or reduced gross income can all lead to decreased net income.

Which figure is more important for investors?

Both are essential, but net income offers a clearer view of a company's profitability.

Why is gross income important?

It provides a starting point for determining profitability.

Is my salary my gross income?

Yes, your salary before deductions is considered your gross income.

How often should a business review its gross and net income?

Regularly, often monthly or quarterly, to track financial health.

Which figure is used to determine tax liabilities?

Typically, taxable income is based on net income with specific adjustments.

Can net income be negative?

Yes, if expenses exceed gross income, net income can be negative, indicating a loss.

How does net income differ from gross income?

Net income is what remains after all expenses are subtracted from gross income.

Is gross income always higher than net income?

Yes, gross income is always higher or equal to net income, as net income factors in deductions.

What deductions are typical in determining net income?

Deductions include taxes, operating expenses, interest, and other related costs.

Can gross income change monthly?

Yes, especially for businesses or individuals with variable income sources.

Is net income what employees take home?

For employees, the term "take-home pay" often refers to their net income after deductions.

How can one increase their net income?

By either increasing gross income (revenue) or decreasing expenses.

Is rental income considered gross income?

Yes, any income before deductions is considered gross income.

Can one have a positive gross income and negative net income?

Yes, if expenses and deductions exceed the gross income.

Do all businesses have both gross and net income?

Yes, as businesses always start with gross income and then factor in expenses to arrive at net income.

What's a good net income percentage?

It varies by industry, but a positive net income percentage indicates profitability.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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