I am currently filling out an application and one of the questions asks me for my "current incentive bonus".

I don't know how to answer that question because I don't know what it is. The application won't let me continue if it is left blank.

  • 3
    If you don't have one write 0? That is if you feel it's appropriate to divulge your pay upfront.
    – Nathan
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 7:50
  • 4
    Since you don't know what it is, presumably you aren't getting one. So I'd write "Not applicable" or "N/A" if the form permitted free text, "0" if it insists on a number.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 8:04
  • related: How do I ask what “bonus incentives” mean?
    – gnat
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 12:58
  • If you don't know about it, an incentive bonus isn't much of an incentive!
    – phoebus
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


What is an incentive bonus?

Technically, an incentive bonus is a financial reward you will receive in the future, if you attain some pre-determined goals. The bonus might be monetary, or it might be non-monetary (a trip, a gift, etc). You are entitled to receive the incentive bonus if you attain the agreed-upon goals.

On the other hand, a bonus is a reward (usually financial) for past achievement, that is given at the discretion of management. Sometimes bonuses are awarded based on company performance, individual performance, or a combination of both.

In many companies, however the term "bonus" and "incentive bonus" are used loosely and interchangeably.

As with many things in business, the words have real meaning only in a specific context/locale.

If you don't know the term, then it's unlikely that you have a "current incentive bonus". Thus, you probably should enter $0 in the application form.

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