Most of our giving pledges are income-based. We think that for most people it makes sense to think about your giving from this perspective.
In general, we define income as your gross salary, wages, or self-employed income. For most people, this yields a good approximation of what they would consider their income. In cases where it yields something strange, a sensible alternative is to use whatever your government counts as your income for tax purposes.
While we have defined income as pre-tax in the past, after speaking with members in a variety of situations we believe there should be some flexibility here.
The goal of this advice is to help members stick to their plan of taking significant action to benefit others. All guidelines about how to calculate income should be thought of as serving that goal.
We recognize that a simple rule won’t work perfectly for all possible situations, so we encourage members to consider the spirit of the pledge: using a significant portion of one’s income to benefit others. We are always happy to help think through these decisions if you’d like to contact us.
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