WHAT IS AN INCOME TAX: Definition, Rate, and Types

What is income
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An income tax is generally a government levy on the income that people earn in a fiscal year. Whether you’re a minor or a retiree, you must file an income tax return at the rate that the IRS assigned to you. You can bypass tax on earnings, but it’s on the condition that the total amount you earn for that fiscal year is not more than $12,500. Businesses and individuals are subject to income tax irrespective of whether it’s from investment or wages and salaries.

What Is an Income?

Income refers to the money that a person or organization receives as compensation for their work, services, or investments. The money that a business makes from the sale of its goods and services is another definition of income, although revenue is more appropriate.

The majority of people count their wages and salaries, investment returns, pension payments, and other receipts as part of their total income. For businesses, income includes all revenue from sales of products and services as well as any interest or dividends received on the firm’s cash and other assets.

What Is an Income Tax?

Income taxes are a type of tax that governments impose on businesses and individual earnings under their authority. According to the legislation, taxpayers must file an income tax return every year to determine their tax liability.

Generally, the government uses tax to pay off debts, finance public services, and satiate the needs of the populace. Along with the federal government, several states and local governments also require payment of income tax. In fact, the government depends on taxes and puts pleasures in place to ensure that there’s no evasion.

How Does Income Tax Work?

The Internal Revenue Service is responsible for enforcing tax laws and collecting taxes in the United States (IRS). The IRS has a complex system of rules and regulations regarding reportable and taxable income, deductions, credits, and other tax-related issues. The organization is in charge of collecting taxes on all forms of revenue, including business earnings, wages, commissions, and salaries.

Types of Income Taxes

Since it is compulsory for individuals and corporate bodies to pay taxes, it’s also crucial to know the various types of taxes that one will pay for making money.

#1. Individual Income Tax

You can also call this the personal income tax. It is the percentage of your personal wages, salaries, and other types of earnings that are subject to tax. It’s typically levied by the state. Due to exemptions, deductions, and credits, the majority of people do not pay taxes on all of their earnings.

#2. Taxes on Corporate Profits

Revenue from corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, and small businesses is subject to taxation by the IRS. On their profits, businesses must also pay taxes. Depending on the kind of corporate organization, its owners, or shareholders, declare their business profits before deducting their operating and capital expenses. The difference between their business revenue and their operating and capital expenses is the portion that’s subject to tax.

How Much of Your Earnings is Subject to Taxation?

Your filing status and annual earnings determine the portion of the tax that you pay. Theoretically, as the amount you earn increases, your expenses follow suit. However, the amount that the government levies as taxes rate varies and can be anything from 10% and 37%.

What Is an Income Statement

This is a statement that reveals the financial operation of a business over a period. If you want to see a company’s revenues, expenses, and profitability, go through its financial statements. We also refer to this as a profit-and-loss (P&L) or earnings statement. It shows your:

  • Revenue from the sale of products or services.
  • There are costs associated with making money and managing your business.
  • Net revenue, also known as profit, is the sum remaining after expenses.

One of the primary components of a company’s financial statements, together with the statements listed below:

  • Balance report
  • Cash flow report
  • Revealing reserved earnings

This statement may include a variety of time periods. Year-end financial statements include information for the most recent fiscal year of the company. Businesses may create interim statements on a monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual basis. Also, the income statements frequently include information from at least one older period as well as the most recent period to make comparisons easier.

What Are the Main Elements of an Income Statement?

The primary elements of a business financial statement are as follows:

#1. Earnings

The amount of money a business has made by selling its goods and services during the time period is known as revenue, sometimes referred to as sales. Only earnings from the company’s core activities, or those related to its major business, are included in the revenue number.

#2. Sales costs against sales costs of the products sold

The cost of goods sold (or cost of sales, in the case of manufacturing businesses) or cost of sales includes all direct costs associated with creating, acquiring, and/or delivering a company’s goods and/or services (for retailers and wholesalers). Labor costs, raw materials, and amortization typically make up the total. Indirect costs like management, marketing, sales, and distribution are not part of it.

#3. Gross Revenue

Whether you say gross profit, gross margin, or contribution margin, you refer to the same thing. It’s equal to revenue less the cost of goods sold minus the cost of sales. The gross profit indicator compares companies and also determines how efficient a business is.

#4. Enterprise Costs

Operating expenditures, often known as selling, general, and administrative expenses, or SG&A, are the hidden costs a business incurs to run. These could include:

  • electricity and rent
  • marketing and advertising
  • Insurance
  • office supplies
  • maintenance and repair, etc. 

#5. Revenue From Operations

Operating costs take a bite out of gross profit, leaving operational income as the balance.

#6. Non-Active Objects

Non-operating items are gains and losses from non-core operations. Examples include

  • Interest
  • Dividends
  • One-time costs, such as the revenue from asset sales or relocating costs

#7. Earnings before taxes (EBT)

After deducting your overall expenses and losses, what you’ll have is earnings before tax. EBT is a profitability indicator.

#8. Net Revenue

After subtracting taxes from earnings before tax, you’ll get your net profit. Net revenue also includes other useful measures such as:

  • Net profit margin is a typical metric of profitability that may be compared to that of rivals in the same sector.
  • Profits before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization)

What purposes does a statement of income serve?

Statements are a key document for managing and growing your firm as well as working with bankers, investors, and other partners.

  • Statements are essential for strategic planning, budgeting, and financial forecasting. Using intermediate and annual income statements, you can assess your company’s performance throughout the year as well as at year’s end, compare financial data with goals, budgets, and projections, and spot any problems right away.
  • They are used in conjunction with your financial accounts to evaluate the state of your business by lenders, investors, and other partners.
  • Also, they are useful to assess annual tax filings.

What Is an Income Tax Rate

The tax rate is the amount that an individual or organization’s earnings are subject to being charged in taxes. The tax burden is increased when taxable income for an individual or business increases under the progressive tax rate system used by the United States (both by the federal government and several states). A progressive tax rate means that people with higher earnings pay more in taxes overall.

In the United States, there are now seven federal income tax brackets with rates of 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%. Not all of your taxable income will be subject to the 37% tax rate, even if you are one of the fortunate few who earns enough money to be in that bracket. Instead, your top marginal tax rate is 37%.

Income Tax Statements and Tax Rate

A company’s financial performance during a specific time period, usually annually or quarterly, is briefly summarized in income statements. An income statement might display sales revenue, cost of goods sold (COGS), gross margin, operational costs, operating income, interest and dividend expenses, tax expense, and net income. The industry standard financial statement for determining a company’s profitability is the income statement.

A corporation does not list its real tax rate in percentage terms on the income statement. You can still determine the effective tax rate using the remaining information on the income statement.

Significance of Effective Tax Rate

The effective tax rate is one ratio that investors use to assess a company’s profitability. This amount can change significantly from year to year. It can be difficult to immediately determine what led to a change in an effective tax rate, though.

Additionally, remember that companies frequently create two distinct financial statements. While one is for reporting, like the income statement, the other is for collecting collection tax. Due to expenses that can be claimed as tax deductions or credits, these two documents may vary. The effective tax rate of an organization will be lower than the effective tax rate of an organization that is misusing tax credits and deductions.

How to calculate the effective income tax rate

The effective tax rate is the entire tax rate that the business pays on its earned income. You can calculate the effective tax rate by simply dividing the income tax expense by the earnings (or money made) before taxes. Tax expenses are often the last line item on an income statement before the bottom line or net revenue.

For instance, if a corporation earned $100,000 before taxes and paid $25,000 in taxes, the effective tax rate would be 0.25. It is clear from this situation that the firm paid overall taxes at a rate of 25%.

Who pays the income tax?

Individuals must pay income taxes on their wages and salaries as well as their investment and other income. The second-largest source of government revenue after sales taxes, payroll taxes account for nearly one-third of all annual receipts and help pay for Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits.

Why is there an income tax?

Income taxes make up around 80% of all federal revenue, which is the primary source of funding for social programs like Social Security and Medicare. Payroll taxes are another important source of funding for the federal government.

Does everyone pay income tax?

Tax filing is not obligatory for everyone. Your income, filing status, age, and whether you qualify for a unique circumstance are the four criteria that determine whether you must submit your taxes.

Where do income taxes go?

Individual income taxes were the main source of funding for the American government in 2023. The U.S. government uses the money it earns to help the American people through funding a range of products, initiatives, and programs, as well as to pay interest on debt.

What Is an Income Tax Return

To provide information to the income tax division regarding your earnings and taxes, you must file an income tax return (ITR). The amount of tax due from a taxpayer is calculated using their income. A taxpayer is entitled to an income tax refund from the Income Tax Department if the return discloses that an excessive amount of tax was paid in a certain year.

In the United States, anyone (individuals and businesses) who receives income during the previous fiscal year must file a tax return. A salary, corporate profits, real estate rental income, dividends, capital gains, interest payments, or other types of income are all possible sources of income. By a specific date, either an individual or a business must file tax returns. It’s always better to file a tax return on time because anyone who fails to will have to face a government fine.

Is it necessary to file a tax return?

According to Indian tax laws, you must file income tax returns if your earnings are greater than the basic exemption threshold. To make this easy for everyone, the IRS ensures that people get their tax rates in advance. Filing taxes after the deadline will make it harder for you to get a loan or a visa, in addition to costing you late filing penalties.

What regarding ITR forms has changed?

The revised IT return forms feature relief measures implemented in response to the COVID-19 global outbreak. These new tax return forms were been released by the Central Board of Direct Taxes. The following are some qualities of the forms:

  • Bigger view of taxpayers: Hindu undivided families (HUFs), partnership firms, and private individuals who have deposited more than Rs 1 crore in a bank, spent more than Rs 2 lakh in personal travel expenditures, or paid more than Rs 1 lakh in electricity utility bills are now subject to taxation.
  • Separate schedule: Schedule DI, a separate schedule included in the new form, enables taxpayers to indicate the dollar amount of investments or outlays for which they are qualified for a tax refund.
  • Joint homeowners are no longer prohibited from filing tax returns using ITR-1 or ITR-4 under a previous change.

When filing tax returns, you must include your Aadhar number. Additionally, taxpayers must link their PAN (permanent account number) card to their Aadhar number. It is not possible to file a tax return physically or electronically without the Aadhar number. While those under the age of 80 must file their tax returns online, seniors can do so manually. Your Aadhar number can be used to link your income tax return by:

  • There are more spaces on the updated ITR forms that are accessible on the Income Tax website where you can type or write the number.
  • If you have requested an Aadhar number but have not yet received one, you can substitute the 28-digit enrollment ID.
  • The Aadhar number will be immediately added to the ITR forms if it was previously added online.

Which ITR Form Should You Fill?

Taxpayers may need to complete a number of forms, which are posted on the official website of the Income Tax Department, depending on their earnings. While some of these documents are straightforward to fill out, others, like the profit and loss statements, require more details. Here is a little explanation to help you comprehend the available forms:

ITR Forms

#1. ITR-1

Sahaj or ITR-1 is necessary for everyone who resides in the state (apart from someone who is not a regular resident), and has a total annual income of up to Rs. 50 lakh, and obtains income from salary, one house, other sources (such interest), and up to Rs. 5,000 from agriculture.

#2. ITR-2

This form should be filled out by individuals and HUFs who do not receive salaries from professional or company profits and gains.

#3. ITR-3

This form is for people and HUFs who make money from their vocation or from running a business.

#4. ITR-4 (Sugam)

If your business produces presumed revenue for you, you must submit this form. This form must be filled out by individuals, HUFs, and firms (other than LLPs) who reside in the State.

What Is an Income Investment

Investment income is exclusively used to describe financial gains above the investment’s initial cost. It does not matter how the income is paid out, such as interest or dividends, as long as it is derived from a past investment, for it to be considered investment income. A substantial sum or repeated interest payments made over time are two other ways to receive investment income.

The bulk of people normally gets their annual net income from their regular jobs. However, careful saving and investing can help develop little amounts of money into big investment portfolios that, over time, will produce a sizable annual investment income for the person.

Businesses frequently receive investment revenue. A common item on the financial accounts of publicly traded companies is investment income or loss. This is the portion of the company’s net revenue that was derived from investments made with surplus funds as opposed to those made with its core business. This category for a firm may include all of the aforementioned, as well as interest earned or lost on the company’s own bonds that have been issued, share buybacks, corporate spinoffs, and acquisitions.

Investment income and taxes

Investment income often receives preferred tax treatment when it is realized, however, this is not always the case. The corresponding tax rate is determined by the sort of investment that produced the income and other elements unique to a taxpayer’s circumstances.

Taxes must be paid when funds from many retirement plans, such as a 401(k) or traditional IRA, are withdrawn. Some tax-friendly investments, like a Roth IRA, are exempt from taxes on the qualifying gains associated with a qualified payout. Long-term capital gains and qualifying dividend income are only subject to a maximum federal tax of 20%, even if the combined amount exceeds $500,000 in any given year.

Investment income may also be utilized to provide income tax credits in addition to a person’s earnings. For instance, if a person has income from a small business and no investment income over $10,000 for 2021 and $10,300 for 2023, that person may be eligible for the Earned Revenue Tax Credit (EITC).

Example of Investment Income

Let’s say a shareholder purchases 100 shares of company ABC for $50. When the investor sells them for $70 two weeks later, he receives a $20 profit. Because this is a short-term investment, the profit is taxed at the investor’s regular rate of earned income tax. (According to federal tax regulations, short-term investment is one that is held for less than a year.)

Let’s say the same person spends $50,000 on real estate. The investor sells the property for $1.5 million ten years later. The investment qualifies as revenue from long-term investments and is subject to long-term capital gains tax.

The entire earnings of the taxpayer determine the tax rate. That means there will be no gains for individual taxpayers with earnings up to $80,000 in 2021. Gains between $80,000 and $441,450 were taxed at a rate of 15%, and income beyond that was taxed at a rate of 20%.

What is Income and Example?

The quantity of money received by a person, group, or business over a specific time period is the definition of income. For example, $90,000 annual wage.

What are the 3 Types of Income?

There are three categories of earnings. These are:

  • Earned Salary.
  • Investment Return
  • Passive Earnings.

What are types of income?

These are:

  • Wages. 
  • Salary. 
  • The Commission.
  •  Interest.
  • selling a creation or possession.
  • Making investments.
  • Gifts
  • Allowance or Cash in Pocket

What are the 5 Types Of Income?

These are salary, rent, business revenue, investment returns, and capital asset income.

What are the Four Types Of Income?

  • Active or earned income.
  • Investment return.
  • Passive income.
  • Inherited earnings


Generally, when it comes to paying taxes, there’s no way out. You just have to pay your taxes, whether you’re an individual or a business. I mean, if minors pay tax on their earnings, then there’s no exception.

What is Income FAQs

Do minors pay taxes on the money they realise?

Yes, minors do pay taxes. However, this only applies when the amount in question is above the threshold amounts.

What is the income tax limit of retirees?

The tax limit for retirees depends on their age. For instance, a retiree that’s below 65 years has a tax limit of $12,550. This simply means if he earns more than $12,550 annually, the money will be subject to tax.

Who can file for a tax return?

In the United States, anyone who received income in the last fiscal year must file for tax.

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