I would like to know about these two 収入, 給料 (there may be even others I am not aware of). Can they be interchanged as one pleases, or does it very much depend on the context?

Which is more colloquial, which is more formal?

  • 3
    給料 means salary, 収入 means income. Salary and Income does mean the same thing so your problem is fixed.
    – oldergod
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 5:20
  • 5
    And it helps to think about what it means for a company: income is what they get and salaries what they pay.
    – blutorange
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 7:07
  • @oldergod As blutorange said, they are different. You can say 家庭の収入 or 国の収入 but you cannot say 家庭の給料 nor 国の給料.
    – marasai
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 17:13
  • @user5185 That article only explain about サラリーマン・OLなどの会社員の場合. If you are freelancer, you won't get any 給料 but you will get 報酬.
    – marasai
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 17:14
  • 1
    @oldergod Yes. You can have income from lots of things besides salary. For example, you can have hourly income, or an inheritance, or you can sell stock options, etc. None of those are salary, but all of those are income.
    – user1478
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 14:51

2 Answers 2


As one of the commenters said 給料 means salary, 収入 means income. In terms of remuneration for a job performed at work these are equivalent. Typically people use 給料 to refer to salary (though also 年収 to refer to yearly salary)

収入 can also refer to income (gross) of a company (one certainly wouldn't use 給料 to refer to sales figures)


As someone else pointed out in the comment, this explains the differences: http://kakeibot.doorblog.jp/archives/37164111.html.

Basically, 「収入」is the amount of money you receive from your company before you subtract taxes and health assurance fees. 「給与」(not 「給料」) on the other hand, is that same amount of money that is given to you by the company (as 与 suggests), so only the point of view changes.

「給料」is one part (the basic fixed income) of the total 「給与」, as 「給与」 contains extras and bonuses.

  • 1
    This is wrong. 収入 does not refer to gross salary
    – paullb
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 6:00
  • I will blame that on my source... it states exactly that
    – Lake
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 6:50
  • @paullb This is not wrong: for example, from national tax agency's site: 収入金額(源泉徴収される前の金額). But it is also true that, in every day usage, "収入" simply means income. Lake's answer is valid in contexts regarding tax, so even if it isn't the best answer for the question, it doesn't seem to be wrong.
    – Yosh
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 9:18
  • @Yosh The tax form refers to 収入 as income and not salary. Look at the examples given.
    – paullb
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 1:26
  • How about "gross income"?
    – Lake
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 3:43

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