What Is Net Income? - Definition & Formula

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  • 0:00 Net Income Defined
  • 0:30 Calculating Net Income
  • 0:45 Examples
  • 3:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Income does not always mean profit. In this lesson, you'll learn what net income is and how to calculate it. You'll also have a chance to take a brief quiz after the lesson to reinforce your knowledge.

Net Income Defined

Net income is the amount of revenue you have left over after you have subtracted all costs of doing business. The opposite of net income is net loss, which is when your costs and expenses actually exceed your income. Net income (or loss) is reported on a company's income statement. If any portion of net income is not distributed to the owners of the company, it is reflected as retained earnings on a company's balance sheet.

Calculating Net Income

The formula to calculate net income is rather easy: Net Income = Total Revenue - Total Expenses

If the equation results in a negative number, which is indicated in accounting by a number bounded by parentheses, then there is no net income, but rather a net loss.


Let's say that you are an accountant for a small business and its owner has asked you to calculate the net income for the year. You collect the following data from your ledgers:

Total revenue: $500,000
Costs of goods sold: $75,000
Salaries and wages: $150,000
Rent: $120,000
Utilities: $5,000
Interest payments: $10,000
Taxes: $12,000

Net Income = Total Revenue - Total Expenses

  • Net Income = $500,000 - ($75,000 + 150,000 + $120,000 + $5,000 + $10,000 + $12,000)
    • Net Income = $500,000 - $372,000
      • Net Income = $128,000

Let's look at one more example. You are the president of a corporation and are in the process of preparing for the annual shareholders meeting. You need to calculate the net income for the past fiscal year. Are your shareholders going to be happy given the following numbers?

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