The pop star, 55, beat second-placed Steven Spielberg (£65m, $100m) to top spot, after her MDNA tour grossed more than £190m ($300m).
Spielberg, who had a big hit last year with the film "Lincoln", earned most of his income from his catalogue of past hits, such as "E.T." and "Jurassic Park".
At joint third, with earnings of £60m ($95m), were "50 Shades of Grey" author E.L. James, radio shock jock Howard Stern and music and television producer Simon Cowell.
"Madonna's success, at age 55, just goes to show the incredible power of a successful music career," Forbes reporter Dorothy Pomerantz said.
Forbes compiles its annual list of celebrity earnings using input from agents, managers and producers.
The figures do not reflect tax deductions, agent fees or "the other expenses of being a celebrity".
Madonna's top spot compares with her previous peak of £70m ($110m) in 2009.
But it falls short of the £105m ($165m) taken in by Oprah Winfrey in the previous year, Forbes said.
Talk show queen and media mogul Winfrey took a big pay cut this year according to Forbes, falling to 13 on the list with earnings of £50m ($77m).
Lady Gaga ranked 10th in the list, earning £51m ($80m).
Others in the top 10 included TV host Glenn Beck, director Michael Bay of the "Transformers" franchise, and thriller novelist James Patterson.
Patterson is now the best-selling author of all time, Forbes said.
Both Spielberg and Bay also made last year's top 10, though with significantly larger earnings.
The full list of top-earning celebrities can be viewed at www.forbes.com .