How Do You Tithe as a Business Owner?

I’ve had many business owners ask me, “Should I tithe on my gross receipts or net profit?” I’m a business owner myself, so I understand how difficult it can be to tithe on business proceeds.

Most of the population is paid either hourly or salary, so they can easily take 10% off the top because they know how much they’re going to make this week, this month, this year. But if you own your own business, it’s a completely different ball game. It’s often feast or famine, and you’re in the red or in the black. How do you tithe as a business owner?

Set a Giving Goal for Your Business

The first thing I encourage you to do is set a yearly philanthropy goal for your business. Why is that? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. If you don’t plan to give, you won’t give.

Set a goal or percentage before the year starts of how much you plan to give back. The minimum is 10%, which is the biblical tithe. If you want to go beyond this, great! But I’d encourage your minimum goal to be 10% of your net profits.

I believe there’s a special edge for the business that begins by devoting a portion of its profits to God (Prov. 11:25). Plus, there’s been an ever-increasing trend that customers want to see—and sometimes demand!—that the companies they do business with have a charitable mindset. For more on this, check out my blog, “Why Philanthropy is Good for Business.”

Tithe on Your Personal Income

Before we dive into tithing on business profits, it’s indisputable is that you should be tithing 10% of your income from the business. You might say, “What’s so confusing about all this? Sounds straightforward to me!” Not so fast. As a business owner, you likely take a salary in addition to taking dividends and withdrawals from your business.

A lot of people are just tithing on their salary. But I consider your gross income to be a combination of your dividends and your salary. Calculate your personal tithe based on what you’re earning from these combined.

Tithe on the Business Profits

But what about the net profits from the business? This is where it gets tricky. Do you tithe on the business profits if you’re already tithing from your income from the business? The answer is yes. I’m a firm believer that business owners should tithe on their profits also.

It’s biblical to do this because the profits you make are your firstfruits, your first and best. Now don’t hear what I’m not saying: I’m not saying tithe off the revenue, or gross sales. Revenue is what your business is earning by selling the product or service, whereas profit is what your business has left after deducting all the expenses from the revenue. Only tithe on the net profits.

Tithing Business Strategies

You can approach your business tithe in several ways:

  1. Systematic approach. Give a regular tithe that’s a baseline for you every month based on the estimated net profits. This means that every month after you review your bookkeeping, you give 10% off the calculated business profits you received during that month. The only issue with this method is that some months, you’re going to be in the red. That’s just the nature of owning a business. So you wouldn’t be able to tithe until you get back in the black.

  2. Tithing fund. Set up a fund where 10% of the net profits go. This should be in a separate savings account to be paid out to your church at the end of the year. (Just make sure this account is set apart from the rest of your business funds so it’s more difficult to spend.) The purpose of gathering it up is waiting until the books have been balanced. At that point, you can compare what you’ve saved with what your profits were to make sure you’re giving an accurate tithe. The only concern some might have with this approach is that you’re technically giving your lastfruits, not your firstfruits.

  3. Pay tithe in advance. With this approach, sit down and calculate your expected profits for the present year. Then use your business profits from the first few months of the year to pay your tithe until you’ve reached your yearly giving goal. So the profits from January, February, and March will be paying your yearly tithe in advance, so to speak. Personally, how I’ve followed this method is to split everything into quarters for the year based on my goals:
    1. Q1: I give these profits as my yearly tithe to meet my business generosity goal. (If that quarter’s profits don’t quite meet my generosity goal, I continue to give until I get there.)
    1. Q2: I use my profits to pay my estimated taxes or set aside the funds to take care of them when they come due.
    1. Q3: I invest these profits, providing a foundation for business expansion and growth down the line.
    1. Q4: I’m spending and enjoying! “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” (James 1:17)


All this talk of tithing may seem strange to you. You may think that looking out for number one is the only way to get ahead. That’s the prevailing thought today. But the Word of God is clear not to abuse people to get money—only to stretch money to bless people (Prov. 28:8).

Generosity calibrates your compass. Through giving, you recognize that the true owner of your company is the Lord. What you have belongs to him. Your business profit is not for your own enjoyment, but a mechanism for the Lord to use as you allow it to pass through you to the least of these. May others come to know and love Christ through your giving freely.

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