Gross Salary vs. Net Pay - Differences, Calculation, and More

What's gross salary? Or net pay? You may see two distinct figures on your paycheck, depending on whether you are given an annual salary or hourly earnings. The terms "net pay" and "gross pay" are often used to describe these two figures.

What is gross pay?

The whole amount of money received by an employee before taxes and deductions are deducted is known as gross pay. When a company offers you a $60,000 yearly salary, for example, this implies you received $60,000 in gross income.

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The term "gross pay" refers to the total amount paid to an employee for each hour worked. Because no deductions have been made from this amount, it will be the highest figure on an employee's paycheck.

All sources of revenue will be included in an employee's gross compensation. This includes any overtime they worked, tips they earned, and any other bonuses they got during their time on the job. It will alter if you get a raise or take unpaid time off from work.

For example, if an open job posting says you'll make $60,000 per year, that's your gross compensation before taxes and deductions.

When do you need to know gross pay

Lenders are the most typical case for having to know your gross yearly or monthly revenue.

They'll ask for your gross income rather than your net pay when you apply for a mortgage, an apartment, or any other major purchase that needs a loan. Before accepting you for a credit card, credit card issuers will also inquire about your gross revenue.

Before delving into the intricacies of deductions and taxes, lenders look at an individual's gross yearly income to determine their basic salary.

When questioned about your compensation needs in an interview, you will also allude to your gross income.

Gross pay vs. net pay

On your pay statement, the biggest amount will usually be your gross salary. It is the overall amount paid to you by your company based on your agreed-upon compensation or hourly payment. If your employer agreed to pay you $20 per hour and you worked 30 hours in a pay period, your gross compensation would be $600.

After all taxes and deductions have been deducted, your net pay is the amount of money you will get. The amount that is actually put into your bank account, or the value of your paycheck, is known as net pay.

In most situations, your net pay is printed in a larger type on your paycheck or pay statement, and it's typically bolded to make it stand out more from your gross pay.

When do you need to know net pay

In order to create a budget and prepare for your financial future, you'll need to know your net salary. You won't need to know your net pay when asking for loans or making large purchases, but it will help you determine if you can afford them.

Because your net pay is the dollar amount you'll receive after deductions, it tells you how much money you'll have on hand right after receiving your paycheck. Because workers' tax deductions fluctuate, even if they work in the same job with the same duties, this amount will vary.

Because net pay is a more realistic depiction of the money you'll have available to utilize in your account each month, you create a budget around it rather than gross pay.

The key difference between gross salary and net pay

Accounting for taxes and deductions is the major difference between the gross and net salary figures. After deductions, net pay is the sum of gross and net pay. Because this is the amount that will be available for you to utilize, your net pay will usually be highlighted on your check.

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Deduction from gross pay

The total amount of money you get each year is your gross income. It's the total of your gross monthly compensation. Because it does not contain any deductions, your gross yearly income will always be higher than your net annual income. Some deductions are required, while others are the result of your own decisions regarding savings or perks.

Deductions that must be made include, but are not limited to:

  • Income or payroll taxes are levied by the federal, state, and local/municipal governments.
  • State and local taxes.
  • Taxes on Social Security and Medicare (FICA)

Voluntary deductions can include:

  • 401(k)
  • Pension fund.
  • Automatic savings account.
  • Compensation for equipment.
  • Life insurance and health insurance.

For various reasons, your employer may make additional voluntary deductions from your paycheck. Pension plans, equipment and clothing required for your profession, and union dues are just a few examples. These are optional in the sense that they are not imposed by the federal government, but you may not be able to opt-out of them due to your job contract.

If your company provides these benefits, you may notice deductions for your health plan, 401k, health savings account, flexible savings account, or other perks on your pay stub.

Savings deductions indicate that the money is still yours, but it is being put into an account that you may only be able to access under specific conditions or by incurring a tax penalty. When it comes to benefit options, the amount of these deductions is usually something you decide on yourself. Your company's human resources department may be able to address any questions you have about these options.

How to calculate gross annual income

Refer to your most recent pay statement to figure out your gross income. Whether you earn a salary or an hourly wage will affect how you compute gross revenue.

Calculating gross income for salaried employees

Your official gross pay will be the wage stated in your employment contract. You might be able to figure out your gross income using your regular pay statements. For example, if your company pays you $6,000 each month in gross compensation, you may figure out your gross income using a simple formula ($6,000 x 12 months): $72,000.

However, there's a chance you'll receive more compensation from your company, such as bonuses. If you earned bonuses in addition to your pay, you must include the entire amount of bonuses you got before taxes when calculating your gross compensation.

Because bonuses are sometimes taxed at a different rate than normal income, it's critical to add the gross bonus amount to your gross pay.

Your gross income will be $72,000 per year if your company agrees to pay you $72,000 per year without bonuses. If you earn a $5,000 bonus this year, it will be taxed at a flat rate of 22 percent, but your normal pay would be taxed at a lower or higher rate depending on how you file your taxes. As a result, your total compensation, including incentives, will be $77,000.

Calculating gross income for wage employees

If you earn hourly pay and aren't sure how many hours you'll work in a year, calculating your gross income at the end of the year may be the simplest option. You'll be able to discover your complete gross earnings for the year after you receive your last pay statement.

If, on the other hand, your company provides you with regular and fixed hours, you may simply determine your weekly, monthly, or annual gross income. Simply calculate the entire amount you earn in an hour by the number of hours you receive each week.

For instance, if you make $20 per hour and are guaranteed 35 hours of work per week, your gross weekly earnings would be $700, your gross monthly income will be $2,800, and your gross yearly pay will be $33,600.

If your company does not offer paid time off, keep in mind that taking any days off will reduce your gross salary. Adjust your calculations to account for the increase in hourly pay if you get a raise at any time during the year.

IRS definition of gross pay

Your gross pay for the year will be included on your W-2, but employers are required to add some non-monetary perks in their calculations.

Tips, several types of cost reimbursement, non-essential educational expenses, and some life insurance policies may be included in your gross compensation. These are all considered pay/gross p

Furthermore, any contributions to a retirement plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b) are not included in your gross income. Contributions to some retirement plans, such as Roth IRAs, are still counted as part of your gross income.

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What is income tax?

Because governments can't function without money, they levy an income tax on you, which is usually dependent on how much money you make in a year. The majority of the money you get is taxable income. Interest, dividends, rentals, royalties, lottery prizes, unemployment benefits, and revenues from a business you own are all included. In the United States, income taxes are the single largest source of revenue for the federal government.

Who is responsible for paying income tax?

When people talk about income taxes, they're typically referring to what taxing agency refer to as "individual income taxes," which are levied on employees and others who earn money. Corporations, trusts, estates, and a variety of other entities, on the other hand, pay income tax on their earnings.

Most states, in addition to the federal income tax system, levy a comparable tax on persons and businesses with a strong relationship to the state. Only seven states do not have an income tax as of 2020. If you live in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, or Wyoming, you are probably solely liable for federal income taxes.

What is the purpose of income taxes?

Individual income taxes are the federal government's primary source of revenue, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Individuals are projected to have paid roughly $1.66 trillion in income taxes in 2017, accounting for nearly 48% of government revenue. Corporate income taxes accounted for another $324 billion, or 9% of total government revenue. Because each state imposes various tax rates and has additional sources of revenue such as sales taxes, property taxes, and federal aid, the amount of revenue generated by income taxes can vary considerably at the state level.

Example tax deduction factors

Even if you have the same gross salary as a coworker in the same position, your net pay may be considerably different depending on your personal circumstances.

The following are some of the most frequent variables that affect a person's tax deductions.


Marriage. Your tax deductions may be impacted if you legally marry the love of your life. When a couple becomes legally married, they may be eligible for a tax benefit, especially if they file jointly. Divorce, on the other hand, might have a significant impact on your tax rate.

Having family or children

Having a family. While most people connect having a baby with a lot of costs, it might really provide you with tax benefits. Parents who claim a dependent receive tax benefits for raising their children.

Purchasing a home

Purchasing a home. Buying a house is another large cost that comes with the benefit of tax deductions. Alternatively, unless you can take advantage of stipulations like filing jointly, you'll almost certainly face a high tax rate when selling a home.

Getting a raise

Getting a raise at work. A promotion recognizes all of your hard work in your current position and generally comes with a pay rise.

While this is a reason to rejoice, it may have tax implications for you. A raise in salary may place you in a different tax bracket, resulting in you paying a different proportion of taxes that year.

Continued education

School. Obtaining higher education is an expensive and time-consuming effort. Making this life decision has an influence on your taxes in order to alleviate the financial strain of going to school. The majority of students may deduct or offset their educational costs through their tax deductions.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo,, SparkHire,,, FairyGodBoss,, St. Edwards University, NC State University,, Thrive Global,, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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