What Is Net Income (NI)?

Net income (NI), also called net earnings, is calculated as sales minus cost of goods sold, selling, general and administrative expenses, operating expenses, depreciation, interest, taxes, and other expenses. It is a useful number for investors to assess how much revenue exceeds the expenses of an organization. This number appears on a company’s income statement and is also an indicator of a company’s profitability.1


  • Net income (NI) is calculated as revenues minus expenses, interest, and taxes.
  • Earnings per share are calculated using NI.
  • Investors should review the numbers used to calculate NI because expenses can be hidden in accounting methods, or revenues can be inflated.
  • NI also represents an individual’s total earnings or pre-tax earnings after factoring deductions and taxes in gross income.

Net income also refers to an individual’s income after taking taxes and deductions into account.


Understanding Net Income (NI)

Businesses use net income to calculate their earnings per share. Business analysts often refer to net income as the bottom line since it is at the bottom of the income statement. Analysts in the United Kingdom know NI as profit attributable to shareholders.

Net income (NI) is known as the “bottom line” as it appears as the last line on the income statement once all expenses, interest, and taxes have been subtracted from revenues.



Calculating NI for Businesses

To calculate net income for a business, start with a company’s total revenue. From this figure, subtract the business’s expenses and operating costs to calculate the business’s earnings before tax. Deduct tax from this amount to find the NI.

NI, like other accounting measures, is susceptible to manipulation through such things as aggressive revenue recognition or hiding expenses. When basing an investment decision on NI, investors should review the quality of the numbers used to arrive at the taxable income and NI.


Personal Gross Income vs. NI

Gross income refers to an individual’s total earnings or pre-tax earnings, and NI refers to the difference after factoring deductions and taxes into gross income. To calculate taxable income, which is the figure used by the Internal Revenue Service to determine income tax, taxpayers subtract deductions from gross income. The difference between taxable income and income tax is an individual’s NI.2

For example, an individual has $60,000 in gross income and qualifies for $10,000 in deductions. That individual’s taxable income is $50,000 with an effective tax rate of 13.88% giving an income tax payment $6,939.50 and NI of $43,060.50.


NI on Tax Returns

In the United States, individual taxpayers submit a version of Form 1040 to the IRS to report annual earnings. This form does not have a line for net income. Instead, it has lines to record gross income, adjusted gross income (AGI), and taxable income.3

After noting their gross income, taxpayers subtract certain income sources such as Social Security benefits and qualifying deductions such as student loan interest. The difference is their AGI. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, net income and AGI are two different things. Taxpayers then subtract standard or itemized deductions from their AGI to determine their taxable income. As stated above, the difference between taxable income and income tax is the individual’s NI, but this number is not noted on individual tax forms.


NI on Paycheck Stubs

Most paycheck stubs have a line devoted to NI. This is the amount that appears on an employee’s check. The number is the employee’s gross income, minus taxes, and retirement account contributions.


Net Income (NI) Definition: Uses, and How to Calculate It

Net income is the amount that a person or business makes after deducting all the relevant expenses and taxes from the revenue that entity earns. So, in addition to taxes, one would deduct the cost of goods sold (COGS), amortization and depreciation, interest charges and expenses (including sales or operating expenses, administrative expenses and general expenses).

You can easily find a business’s net income as the last line of a company’s income statement. It appears at the bottom of the income statement because it is derived after all the deductions have been made to show what a company made within a specified accounting period. In addition, you’ll find the net income on the cash flow statement.

For an individual, your net income is what is left over after you account for your various paycheck deductions and pay your income taxes.

What Does Net Income Mean?

Net income represents a business owner’s take-home pay after all the expenses have been deducted.


Does Net Income Mean Profit?

Net income is also known as net earnings or net profit, and it is a profitability metric. If you have money left over after all the expenses have been deducted, it means you have made a profit. On the other hand, if your net income is negative no matter how much revenue you generated, it indicates that your business is not profitable in the long run.


Gross vs. Net Income

As the IRS explains, gross income is the amount of money that an individual or company earns before deductions or taxes. It is also known as gross profit. For individuals, gross income includes wages, interest, capital gains, dividends, rents, profits, etc. from all sources.

On the other hand, gross income for businesses refers to all the revenues generated from sales of products or services before the deduction of taxes and any indirect expenses.

However, you shouldn’t confuse a company’s net income or net profit with gross profit. The latter refers to the amount left over after you only subtract COGS from the revenue you have generated. That amount usually includes the taxes and interest that have yet to be paid.

The formula for gross profit is:

Gross Profit = Revenue – COGS

Generally, COGS covers the direct costs of creating a product, delivering services to clients or acquiring goods for resale. So, it includes payments for raw materials, manufacturing or warehousing labor costs, equipment operation costs, inbound shipping, etc.

You can use the gross profit to determine how efficiently your business is generating profit from the sale of goods or services.


Types of Net Income

While net income is the bottom line, there are other deductions that can take place before arriving at the final value. These aspects of net income depend on what kind of expenses you deduct. They include:

Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT)

EBIT refers to the amount left over after deducting every operating cost from the sales revenue. However, that amount isn’t reduced by the interest expense and income taxes that ultimately need paid.

The formula for EBIT is:

EBIT = Sales Revenue – Operating Expenses (COGS + Selling, General and Administrative expenses (SG&A))

You can also express it as:

EBIT = Net income + Taxes + Interest Expenses

Earnings Before Tax (EBT)

EBT is a way of measuring a company’s profitability or financial health. It is derived by deducting all operating and nonoperating expenses, such as COGS and interest expense from the sales revenue. However, it doesn’t deduct income taxes.

Another name for EBT is pretax income. As the Corporate Finance Institute details, its formula can be expressed as:

  • EBT = EBIT – Interest Expense
  • EBT = Net Income + Taxes
  • EBT = Sales Revenues – (COGS + SG&A + Depreciation & Amortization)

Retained Earnings (RE)

Retained earnings refers to the net income a company keeps after distributing dividends to the shareholders. This income can be used to grow the business or pay off its debts.

The formula for RE is:

RE = Beginning RE + Net Income – Dividends

How to Calculate the Net Income Formula

You can calculate the net income of a business if you know the net income formula, which is:

Net income = Total Revenue – Total Expenses

And you can break it down further as:

Net Income = Sales Revenue – COGS – Interest Expenses – Other Expenses ‌ Taxes

Net Income Calculation Example

Suppose Potty Inc. generated sales revenues worth ‌$5.5 million‌ in 2022. Also, suppose that the company incurred operating expenses worth ‌$1.5 million‌ and interest expenses worth ‌$0.5 million‌. It paid ‌$1 million‌ as a tax expense.

In that case, you can calculate the company’s 2022 net income as follows:

Net income = $5.5 million – ($1.5 million + $0.5 million + $1 million) = $5.5 million – $3 million

Therefore, Potty Inc. had an income of ‌$2.5 million‌ in 2022.