Pretax Income

What is Pretax Income ?


Pretax income, also known as earnings before taxes (EBT), is a fundamental financial measure that shows a company's profitability before accounting for income taxes. It is a crucial metric for investors and analysts because it provides insight into the company's operational efficiency in generating profits.

Calculation of Pretax Income

The formula for calculating pretax income is:

Pretax Income=Total Revenues−Total Operating Expenses

In this calculation, total operating expenses include costs like salaries, rent, depreciation, amortization, and interest expenses. For example, if a company's total revenues are $5 million and its operating expenses amount to $3 million, the pretax income would be $2 million.

Difference Between Pretax Income and Taxable Income

Taxable income is derived from pretax income but adjusted for tax purposes. It is the earnings amount that is subject to income tax, calculated by subtracting allowable deductions and credits from the pretax income. This figure is what is used to determine the actual tax liability of the company.

Pretax Profit Margin

Pretax profit margin is a ratio that measures the percentage of revenue that a company retains as profit before accounting for taxes. It is calculated by dividing the pretax income by the company’s total revenue. This margin is an indicator of the company’s success in generating profits before any tax expenses.

Pros and Cons of Using Pretax Income as a Financial Metric


  • Indicates Operational Profitability: Offers insights into the company's ability to generate profits before the influence of tax.
  • Useful for Benchmarking: Allows comparison with other companies in the same industry.
  • Efficiency Indicator: Useful for assessing how effectively a company generates profits.


  • Ignores Tax Impact: Does not show the net profitability after taxes are accounted for.
  • Not a Complete Profit Indicator: A high pretax income doesn’t necessarily mean a company is overall profitable.
  • Requires Context: Should be viewed alongside other financial metrics for comprehensive financial analysis.

Pretax income is an essential component of financial analysis, aiding in evaluating a company's profitability and operational success. It's especially useful for businesses in strategic planning and comparing industry performance.