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 Jan. 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 for a calendar year reference, they mean the period of time between Jan. 1 of the current year and the current date. If they use YTD for a fiscal year reference, 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 Jan. 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 Oct. 1 to Sept. 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 Sept. 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, to identify seasonal trends or abnormalities.

Types of Year to Date

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 a 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 refer 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 business has not yet ended for that day.

For example, if today’s date is Aug. 21, 2021, MTD refers to the period of time from Aug. 1, 2021, to Aug. 20, 2021. 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.

How to Calculate Year to Date

Most YTD calculations can be determined through simple addition. For example, if a business wishes to calculate its YTD sales, it would simply add up the sales figures for every budget period since the beginning of the fiscal or calendar year. If you want to verify your YTD salary, you would simply add up the gross pay from every paycheck since the start of the year.

The math is more complicated for interest or yield figures, which are often represented in terms of annual percentage rates. This allows investors to compare returns over different time periods: If your portfolio is up 4% and it’s now June, it may be hard to determine if your portfolio is on track to beat last year’s 8% returns.

The first step to annualizing yields is to divide the present value by the initial value at the beginning of the year. This gives you a fraction representing YTD growth. Next, raise that fraction to the power of twelve divided by the number of months that have passed. Subtract 1 and multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage.

For example, suppose your portfolio started the year at $1,000 and it currently has a value of $1,030 on Sept. 30. Divide $1,030 by $1,000 to get 1.03, and raise that to the power of 1.33 (12/9) to get 1.04. Thus, your portfolio is on track for an annualized 4% growth.

What Does Year to Date Mean on a Pay Stub?

Year to date (YTD) is a term that covers the period between the beginning of the year and the current (present) date. So, on a pay stub, your YTD figure shows the total of your wages or earnings from the start of the current calendar year until the most recent pay period. Most pay stubs will show a running total of YTD earnings that includes gross wages, net pay, or both. They may also provide a YTD tally of your FICA taxes, income taxes, and other deductions.

How Do You Calculate Year to Date Returns?

Consider an investor who bought shares in a company on January 1 at $200 per share. In March, they are worth $202. To calculate the year-to-date return on these shares, you would start by finding the percentage growth ($202 – $200)/$200 then multiply this by 100 to arrive at 1%. The next step is to annualize these returns. Since the shares grew 1% in the first quarter of the year, that works out to an annualized growth of 4%.

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 Aug. 21, the month-to-date would equal Aug. 1 to Aug. 20. This is because business has not been finalized for the current day. Month to date is used for similar metrics as the year to date, such as measuring earnings, return, and income. 

The Bottom Line

Year to date (YTD) represents one way to measure a company’s financial progress. Rather than wait for end-of-year figures, the company can simply analyze performance trends over the course of the year. This represents a simple and straightforward way to assess progress over time.


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