Keeping track of your total earnings helps you plan for expenses during the year and helps make the decision to adjust your federal and state income tax deductions as you monitor your earnings throughout the year. The year-to-date information occasionally gives you the green light to plan a vacation or buy a special gift for yourself -- after you confirm your income to date. Workers receiving paper checks, online payment statements or printed pages listing income included with a paycheck, typically see a box or a line in the financial summary labeled "YTD" -- meaning year-to-date income.
The total listed as year-to-date income helps workers with a personal financial picture after each pay period. Workers use the YTD total to see the gross total earned, meaning before any payroll deductions. Net earnings show the income amount after the company takes out payroll deductions, if any, from the worker's earnings. Salaried workers see the income as monthly pay in place of a simple annual pay figure. These workers also typically see figures for both gross and net income with each paycheck.
Year-to-date earnings for staff occasionally include account bonuses, special payments, overtime work or commissions, but some firms keep this income information as separate YTD totals on the paycheck. Some employers separate guaranteed income from year-to-date bonuses to illustrate individual employee efforts. This YTD total typically uses the label "regular income" next to the income paid as a set amount each pay period.
In addition to your earnings, some companies keep detailed year-to-date totals for money deducted for Social Security, disability insurance, personal health insurance, professional union dues and state and federal income taxes on employee paychecks. Abbreviations for common deductions also tracked with year-to-date totals, include FED TAX for general federal tax deductions and FICA, the abbreviation for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. Old Age Survivor Disability Insurance -- the official name for Social Security -- tax, also appears as YTD deductions for most employees. The YTD total listed for federal and state tax deductions show the amount deducted to date for these contributions.
Calculating YTD Totals
If you're self employed or your employer fails to include handy YTD information showing your gross income, don't despair. Calculating your total can be done in old-school style by adding your total income before deductions with each paycheck. If you prefer to go new school with your financial record-keeping, many online and software finance packages also incorporate this feature. You'll need to input your salary total every time you're paid. Track your YTD deductions by keeping the same running total for the amount withdrawn each month from your pay.
Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.