WHAT IS AGI: Meaning, How to Calculate It & Important Tips to Know

What is AGI

Everyone should know what “adjusted gross income” means when it comes to taxes. It is also called AGI, and it has effects that go beyond tax time. When people are asking you for your adjusted gross income all the time, It does not only changes how much tax you have to pay but it may also be used to see if you can get help or a loan. Read on to learn what AGI means, its example, how to calculate it, and how to get AGI from last year when you can’t find it.

What Is AGI

Adjusted gross income (AGI) is the amount you made for the whole year minus any special changes the IRS allows you to make to ensure that you pay less tax.

  • How much tax you have to pay depends a lot on your adjusted gross income.
  • It’s determined by taking your gross income and subtracting certain tax adjustments.
  • The lower your AGI, the more likely you will be eligible for certain tax incentives.

On the surface, the concept of “income” appears to be quite simple. It’s the money you get from things like work, savings, stocks, etc. But if you’ve ever been confused about what your “adjusted gross income” is and how it links to your “gross income” and “taxable income,” you’re not the only one.

AGI, or adjusted gross income, is a key part of taxes. It serves as the foundation for calculating your overall tax bill and plays an important part in deciding the tax credits and deductions you are qualified for. Understanding what AGI is, how it’s used, and how to calculate it will help you minimize your taxable income, lowering your taxes and saving you money.

AGI is your gross income minus any tax breaks you are eligible for (AGI = gross income minus any tax breaks). Your taxable income is based on your AGI when you file your taxes. Let’s dissect that gradually:

#1. Gross Income

Your overall revenue, which serves as the starting point for tax preparation. It is the total of all of your year’s earnings, including salaries, interest, capital gains from investments, royalties, retirement payouts, rental income, alimony, and any other sources of income that are subject to tax. 

#2. Tax Adjustments

Then, your tax changes are taken out of your gross income, which lowers your gross income. In tax terms, these changes are often called “above-the-line” deductions to distinguish them from the tax benefits most people are familiar with, which come “below-the-line,” or after your AGI is calculated. 

Taxable income: Your AGI is then used to compute your taxable income or the part of your income that is subject to tax. In more detail, your taxable income is determined by deducting any allowable “below-the-line” deductions from your AGI.

How to Calculate AGI

Consider the following procedures if you’re wondering how to calculate adjusted gross income (AGI):

#1. Find Your Income Statements

Gathering all of your income statements is necessary before you can calculate your adjusted gross income. This includes your W-2 for wages and salaries, anything that lists your income from self-employment, and any 1099 forms you’ve used to record income.

Also, don’t forget to include any other taxable income you might have. This can help you figure out how much money you make in a year. The following list covers other sources of income, both taxable and nontaxable:

Taxable Income

A person’s taxable income is the amount of their total income that is subject to taxation by the Internal Revenue Service. It is made up of both earned and unearned cash. The following is a list of taxable income derived from sources aside from your wage or salary:

  • Earnings from business
  • Union strike benefits
  • Farm earnings
  • Long-term disability payments you receive before you retire
  • Taxable credits, refunds, or offsets for city and state income taxes
  • Security deposits and income from renting out a home
  • Fees for jury duty
  • Back pay from workplace discrimination lawsuits
  • Prizes, awards, lottery, gaming, and context wins
  • Earnings from rented property, partnerships, fees, trusts, and license payments
  • Severance pay
  • Capital gains
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Spousal support

Nontaxable income

Nontaxable income is income that you get that isn’t taxed. Even though these types of payments aren’t taxed, the IRS still wants you to list them on your tax return. Here are several revenue sources that are not added to your AGI:

  • Payments for child support
  • Workers’ compensation payments
  • Disability payments
  • Life insurance payouts, unless the insurance company sells you the coverage for a price.
  • Foster care funds
  • Grants for a fellowship or a scholarship
  • Debts canceled as a present to you
  • The money you have received as a gift or other assets you have inherited.
  • Capital gains from selling your primary residence
  • Money can be transferred from one retirement account to another if it is done through a trustee-to-trustee transfer.

#2. Determine Your Total Annual Income

Calculate your total annual income once you’ve acquired all of your income statements. You can do this by adding up all of the money you make in a particular year. Include any incentives you get in your annual earnings. If you earn a salary on a yearly basis, your company will frequently do the majority of the work for you.

If you work on an hourly basis, you can use your paycheck or just multiply your hourly compensation by the number of hours worked each week and then multiply that figure by 52. This tells you how much you make each year. If you’re married and filing a joint tax return, remember to add your spouse’s annual income and bonuses because this applies to your entire household.

#3. Take the Sum of Your Deductions

Look at some costs and deductions. Some of your gross income deductions may change each year. Here are some examples of gross income deductions that result in AGI:

  • Health Savings Account (HSA) payments
  • Self-employed health insurance rates
  • School tuition
  • Student loan interest
  • Alimony paid
  • Expenses for educators
  • Self-employment taxes
  • Penalty for taking money out of a savings account before it’s due
  • Moving expenses
  • Contributions to certain individual retirement plans
  • Certain business expenses

Before including these deductions in your calculation, make sure you comply with a few standards that need to be taken into account. Not all deductions count when you calculate your AGI. Once you know what to take out of your gross income, add up all of your deductions and costs.

#4. Subtract Your Deductions From Your Total Annual Income

After calculating your entire annual revenue and deductions, subtract your deductions from your income. Your annual adjusted gross income results. Like this:

AGI = Annual income  minus Eligible deductions

Divide this by 12 to get your monthly adjusted gross income. This number may alter based on factors. These factors may include bonuses and overtime.

What Is AGI Example

To calculate your AGI, it can help to look at an example. Think about the following example when you calculate your AGI:

#1. Single Filing Status Example

Clark adds up all of his wages and perks and finds that he makes a total of $80,000 a year. He also pays $14,000 in alimony, $7,000 in business costs, and $13,000 in school tuition fees every year. He adds together $14,000, $7,000, and $13,000 to figure out what his yearly deductions are. His deductions total $34,000. He then deducts this amount from his annual salary of $80,000. These are the calculations:

AGI = $80,000 − ($14,000 + $7,000 + $13,000) = $80,000 − $34,000 = $46,000

This means that Clark’s gross adjusted income is $46,000 per year.

#2. Married Filing Status Example

George and Janet Woodsen are getting ready to file their taxes as a couple. In a given year, George made $70,000, while Janet made $90,000. Their family made $160,000 as a whole. This is their total income for the year.

Their total deductions for student loan interest, relocating fees, and HSA contributions amount to $20,000. They then deduct these expenses from their total annual income to arrive at an adjusted gross income of $140,000. They divided this number by 12 to find out how much their adjusted gross income is each month. These are the calculations:

AGI= $160,000 − $20,000 = $140,000 / 12 = $11,666.67

This means that George and Janet have a gross adjusted income of about $11,666.67 per month.

How to Get AGI From Last Year

If you want to file your return electronically, the Internal Revenue Service will authenticate your identification by looking at the personal tax information you provided for the prior year. When you submit your tax return, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) specifically checks to verify if the following two things match up:

  • What you reported as your AGI last year
  • Your tax records from last year

The Internal Revenue Service will not accept your return if these do not match. You should be able to quickly resolve this issue and e-file your return once more without any further problems.

How do you calculate your AGI from last year? You may find the AGI from the previous year on Line 11 of Form 1040 of your return for the year 2022.

How to Find Your AGI From Last Year if You Don’t Have Access to  Your Return

If you can’t find your AGI from the year before, you have a few choices. You’ll need to ask the IRS for a copy of a report for 2022. You can do this in any of the following ways:

  • At www.irs.gov, you can view or download a copy of your tax report.
  • Go to www.irs.gov and request that a hard copy transcript of your return be sent via mail to you. It will take between 5 and 10 work days.
  • Call the IRS at 800-908-9946 and ask for a hard copy transcript to be forwarded to you. It will take between 5 and 10 work days.

If you filed jointly with your spouse last year, your partner’s AGI will be the same as yours. If your partner has a different AGI than you, you will need to give the IRS information about your spouse to get their AGI. Once you know the right AGI, go to the outline of your online account and do the following:

  • At Check Status, click Next Steps next to the government e-file that was rejected.
  • Click Next on the “Check the Status of Your E-file” screen.
  • Select Fix Issues from the Review Your Rejection Messages screen.
  • On the screen titled “Correcting Your Federal Electronic Signature,” click Next.
  • You can now edit your AGI and/or PIN from the previous year.
  • After making the necessary changes, click Continue to File.
  • Click the button labeled “E-file.”
  • To continue with the e-file process, click Next.

What Is the Formula for AGI?

It’s pretty easy to calculate your AGI. Using the income tax calculator, you just add up all of your pay and take out any tax deductions.

What Is 1040?

Taxpayers in the U.S. use Form 1040 to file their annual income tax returns.

What Is the Difference Between AGI and Deduction From AGI?

Here’s how to tell the difference between “Deduction for AGI” and “Deduction from AGI”: The above-the-line deduction for AGI is legal even if the person doesn’t itemize their deductions; it is also known as the AGI deduction. The only time a person may deduct from their AGI, however, is if they itemized their deductions.

What Is the Easiest Tax Form to Use?

The 1040EZ is a reduced tax form that the IRS gives to people who don’t need the full 1040 form’s complexity. To get an estimate of your total taxes, all you have to do is choose how you file your taxes and enter a few other information.

Is AGI Considered Net Income?

Your adjusted gross income (AGI) is the amount of money you get each month that is taxed. AGI is only used on individual tax returns. Even though AGI is often called “net income,” it is not the same thing. Net income is the amount of money you get after taxes, while AGI is the amount of money you get before taxes.


  1. HOW TO CALCULATE AGI: Detailed Guide
  2. GROSS INCOME: Meaning, Formula & Difference
  3. ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME (AGI): Definition, Calculation, Effects on Taxes & Difference
  5. NET PAY: How to Calculate Your Net Pay
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