Ordinary Income

Definition of 'Ordinary Income'


Income received that is taxed at the highest rates, or ordinary income rates. Ordinary income is composed mainly of wages, salaries, commissions and interest income (as from bonds).    Ordinary Income can only be offset with standard tax deductions, while capital gains income can only be offset with capital losses.

Investopedia explains 'Ordinary Income'


The government wants citizens to be long-term investors, which is why the capital gains tax is lower than ordinary income tax rates. Dividend income was historically taxed at ordinary income rates, but wen the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA) was passed, common stock dividends received the same tax rate as long-term capital gains, which is a lower tax rate than ordinary income. As a result, many companies raised or instituted dividends to make their stock more marketable to investors. 


Filed Under: ,

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Harvest Strategy

    A strategy in which investment in a particular line of business is reduced or eliminated because the revenue brought in by additional investment would not warrant the expense. A harvest strategy is employed when a line of business is considered to be a cash cow, meaning that the brand is mature and is unlikely to grow if more investment is added.
  2. Stop-Limit Order

    An order placed with a broker that combines the features of stop order with those of a limit order. A stop-limit order will be executed at a specified price (or better) after a given stop price has been reached. Once the stop price is reached, the stop-limit order becomes a limit order to buy (or sell) at the limit price or better.
  3. Pareto Principle

    A principle, named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, that specifies an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. The principle states that, for many phenomena, 20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. Put another way, 80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes.
  4. Pareto Principle

    A principle, named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, that specifies an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. The principle states that, for many phenomena, 20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. Put another way, 80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes.
  5. Budget Deficit

    A status of financial health in which expenditures exceed revenue. The term "budget deficit" is most commonly used to refer to government spending rather than business or individual spending. When referring to accrued federal government deficits, the term "national debt” is used.
  6. Floating Exchange Rate

    A country's exchange rate regime where its currency is set by the foreign-exchange market through supply and demand for that particular currency relative to other currencies. Thus, floating exchange rates change freely and are determined by trading in the forex market.
Trading Center