What Is Year to Date (YTD)?

Year to date (YTD) refers to the period of time beginning the first day of the current calendar year or fiscal year up to the current date. YTD information is useful for analyzing business trends over time or comparing performance data to competitors or peers in the same industry. The acronym often modifies concepts such as investment returns, earnings and net pay.

Key Takeaways

  • YTD refers to a period of time beginning the first day of the current calendar year or fiscal year up to the current date.
  • Some governmental agencies and organizations have fiscal years that begin on a date other than January 1.
  • YTD analysis is useful for managers to review interim financial statements in comparison to historical YTD financial statements.


How Year to Date (YTD) Is Used

If someone uses YTD in reference to a calendar year, they mean the period of time between January 1 of the current year and the current date. If they use YTD in reference to a fiscal year, they mean the period of time between the first day of the fiscal year in question and the current date.

A fiscal year is a period of time lasting one year but not necessarily beginning on January 1. It is used by governments, corporations and other organizations for accounting and external audit purposes. For example, the federal government observes its fiscal year from October 1 to September 30, and Microsoft's fiscal year is from July 1 to June 30. It is common for nonprofit organizations to have a fiscal year of July 1 to June 30.

YTD financial information is useful for management, as it is a good way to check in on the financial health of a company on an interim basis rather than waiting until the end of the fiscal year. YTD financial statements are routinely analyzed against historical YTD financial statements through the equivalent time period.

For example, if a company's fiscal year begins on July 1, a three month YTD financial statement would run through September 30. The September YTD financial statement for the current year may be compared to the September YTD financial statement from the prior year or years, in order to identify seasonal trends or abnormalities.

Examples of Year to Date (YTD)

Year-to-Date Returns

YTD return refers to the amount of profit made by an investment since the first day of the current year. Investors and analysts use YTD return information to assess the performance of investments and portfolios.

To calculate an YTD return on investment, subtract its value on the first day of the current year from its current value. Then, divide the difference by the value on the first day, and multiply the product by 100 to convert it to a percentage. For example, if a portfolio was worth $100,000 on Jan 1, and it is worth $150,000 today, its YTD return is 50%.

Year-to-Date Earnings

YTD earnings refers to the amount of money an individual has earned from Jan 1 to the current date. This amount typically appears on an employee's pay stub, along with information about Medicare and Social Security withholdings and income tax payments.

YTD earnings may also describe the amount of money an independent contractor or business has earned since the beginning of the year. This amount consists of revenue minus expenses. Small-business owners use YTD earnings to track financial goals and estimate quarterly tax payments.

Year-to-Date Net Pay

Net pay is the difference between employee earnings and the withholdings from those earnings. To calculate net pay, employees subtract the tax and other withholdings from their gross pay. YTD net pay appears on many paycheck stubs, and this figure includes all of the money earned since Jan 1 of the current year minus all of the tax and other benefit amounts withheld.

Month to Date vs. Year to Date

Month to date (MTD) refers to the period of time between the 1st of the current month and the last finalized business day before the current date. Typically, MTD does not include the current date because the end of business has not yet occurred for that day.

For example, if today's date is May 21, 2019, MTD refers to the period of time from May 1, 2019 to May 20, 2019. This metric is used in similar ways as YTD metrics. Namely, business owners, investors and individuals use MTD data to analyze their income, business earnings, and investment returns for the month so far.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is year to date?

Year to date (YTD) denotes a period of time that occurs between the beginning of the year and the current date. It may refer to the calendar year, beginning on January 1, or a fiscal year. Often year to date is used in finance to track a company’s performance, increase in its stock value, earnings growth, or net profit. At the same time, it is used to compare the performance of previous historical periods. 

How do you calculate year to date returns?

Consider an investor who bought shares in a company on January 1 at a price of $200. In March, they are worth $220. To calculate the year to date return on these shares, take ($220- $200)/ $200 then multiply this by 100 to arrive at 10%. The same process applies for an entire portfolio, where the prices of each share would be cumulatively added together, and then compared to their prices at the beginning of the year. For instance, consider an investor allocated $10,000 in five investments at the beginning of the year. In March, their value is now $15,000. In turn, the year to date dollar return of the five investments would equal $5,000.

What is the difference between month to date and year to date?

Month to date includes an important caveat when used in business. Here, month to date refers to the first of the month to the last business day before the given current date. For instance, if today were August 17, month to date would equal August 1 to August 16. This is because business has not been finalized for the current day. Month to date is used for similar metrics as year to date, such as measuring earnings, return, and income.