Determining your income for the previous year can be quite a challenge for small business owners, entrepreneurs, investors and anyone else with multiple sources of income or inconsistent earnings. Maintaining adequate records can ease this process significantly, as will utilizing bank accounts for most transactions. Breaking up the process of measuring income into a monthly journal can also simplify this process.
Review your bank records for the year. You can do this either online or by requesting a paper copy of your records. In many cases you won't be able to differentiate the income that you received from various sources. Some banks offer scanned copies of cleared incoming checks to your account. Ask a customer service representative for records of canceled checks or direct deposit receipts that entered your account. Add up the values of all incoming deposits to your accounts for the year.
Read your paycheck stubs for the year if you received payment through paper checks. Add up these values and include them in your income total. Add up any checks that you may have received from government benefits. Include income that you received from savings account or certificate of deposit appreciation.
Check any brokerage accounts that you possess for capital gains. If you earned more money on your investments than you lost, you will need to pay capital gains taxes. For the purposes of just calculating your capital gains income, you won't have to worry about those rates. You can't deduct capital losses on securities from your income taxes.
Look for records of all cash payments and gifts that you may have received over the previous year. This will be challenging if you don't keep detailed records. If you don't already, maintain a cash journal to record all cash income.
Add up all the totals that you recorded and you will find the amount of the money you earned for the year.