Career Coach, Professional Resume Writer, Freelance Writer
Pay stubs are an important piece of document which shows your earnings in a given period, as well as any deductions made towards your health insurance or pension contributions. They’re also excellent for finding out how much your recent salary raise has bumped up your monthly net income.
Depending on the country you work in, they might or might not be legally required by your employer for tax purposes. In the U.S., for instance, employers aren’t required by federal law to provide pay stubs, but they need to keep payroll records. In the UK, on the other hand, pay stubs are mandatory for all employers.
Either way, having access to your pay stubs is important if you want to have full visibility over your finances or need to provide proof of income when making a purchase. Here, we discuss how to get pay stubs from your current and even former employers.
What is a Pay Stub?
A pay stub, also known as a paycheck or a payslip, is an official piece of financial document that shows your income in a given payroll period, the year-to-date (YTD) income, and any deductions made from your salary.
In most cases, pay stubs contain other information like your social security number, your living address, benefits pay etc., so you need to store them safely and away from a risk of misuse.
Things You’ll Need a Pay Stub For
There are many instances where you might be required to produce your pay stubs as a proof of income:
When you’re applying for a personal loan, it’s very likely that the bank you’re applying with would request your pay stubs from the past three to six months. Your pay stubs not only prove that you have the funds to pay the loan back, but that you’re a trustworthy applicant with steady income.
When you file your tax return form at the beginning of the year, you need to know how much income you’ve received for that financial year and how much you’ve paid in taxes. Your pay stubs are the easiest way to find this information without having to go through multiple channels. Likewise, in case of a discrepancy with your W-2 form, your pay stubs can serve as a proof of payment for tax purposes.
Private landlords and real estate agencies require a proof of income if you want to rent a property from them. This saves them the hussle of chasing people for payment after they’d moved in. Here, your pay stubs can serve as an official proof of income without having to produce bank statements.
Refinancing a Mortgage
If you’re looking to refinance your mortgage to get a better rate, your lender will request a proof of income and available funds to ensure you’d have the ability to pay back the mortgage and the interest. Having your pay stubs available will make the whole process simpler and quicker.
Similar to personal loans, your lender would like to make sure you have the ability to repay your auto loan. Depending on how much you’re looking to get as a loan, you’ll need to have a certain level of income. Ultimately your pay stubs could serve as an official proof of income.
How to Get Pay Stubs from Your Employer?
There are several ways you can get your pay stubs from your employer.
Getting a Pay Stub Through Payroll Department
If you haven’t already been provided with your pay stubs, the easiest way to obtain them would be to go through the payroll department. This department should have a record of all your earnings. They should be able to:
- give you access to your electronic portal, if the company has one;
- give you printed copies of your pay stubs or;
- send you an electronic copy of your pay stubs via email.
If you need these as a proof of income, please make the request as early as possible because it could take the payroll department some time to execute your request.
Getting Through Online Channels
In most cases, companies use an online payroll service to track and deliver all of their pay stubs. You should have been provided with your login details when you joined the company. If you haven’t, go to your manager or HR department to ask for access.
Once you log in, you should be able to find an electronic record of all your pay stubs from the time you started working for the company until now. From there, you should have the option to download them.
How to Get Pay Stubs from Direct Deposit?
Today, direct deposits are by far the easiest and simplest method to get your salary. Often employers mail pay stubs when they pay via direct deposit. If you haven’t received any pay stubs you should first check to make sure the address is correct.
If your address is correct, and you still haven’t received anything, then you can ask your employer to deliver your pay stubs in an alternate form. You can request them via email or you can ask them to provide you with online access where you can download them yourself.
How Do You Get Pay Stub from Your Previous Employer?
Sometimes, you might need to produce pay stubs from a time period when you worked at a different company. You have the right to contact your former employer to provide you with a copy of your pay stubs, so here’s how you could do it.
- First gather all of your personal information such as your current address, social security number, and your former employee identification number (you’ll need this stuff for step 3).
- Then, contact your previous employer’s HR department and explain the nature of your request.
- Last, the company may ask you to fill out a pay stub request form. If you need it by a certain date, then you should put that in your request. Don’t forget to ask how long the process will take.
Pay Stub FAQ
How long do I need to keep my pay stub for?
It’s a good habit to keep your pay stubs for at least a year, or at the very least until you’ve received your W-2 form. Since they contain information about your tax payments, they’re an important proof that you’ve paid all your taxes on time and in full.
What are the most common tax deductions on a paystub?
Tax deductions account for the biggest difference between your gross and net income. These include federal income tax, state tax and social security. The federal tax you pay, also known as a withholding tax, depends on your income and the information you provided your employer with on your W-4 form. The state tax varies by state. Meanwhile, your social security contribution is 6.2% of your salary (which is matched by your employer).
How do I read my pay stub?
Your pay stub comes with several parts which show your gross earnings, benefits pay, deductions and the final amount deposited to your account. If you’re paid by the hour, you can also find information on how many hours you’ve worked and any overtime payments you may have received.
Your gross earnings is the total amount the employer pays in order to have you as an employee, although not all of it goes to you. Benefits pay may include sick leave or vacation days, while deductions list your taxes and any other programs you might have signed up for with your employer, like a cycle-to-work scheme or a gym membership.
How do I do my taxes with my last pay stub?
Ideally, you’d wait for your W-2 form from your employer to file your taxes as that will give you the most accurate information about your income and tax deductions. However, if for some reason you haven’t received your W-2 form on time, you can fill in Form 4852 and use your last pay stub to file your taxes. Please be mindful that if there is any discrepancy in your filing you might need to submit an amended return to the IRS.
Pay stubs might be another administrative task to keep an eye on, but they’re an important piece of document, which can help you avoid trouble with the IRS and prove that you have funds to make larger financial commitments.
If you don’t have your pay stubs for the past six to twelve months of employment, it’s best that you contact your employer and ask for copies. You never know when you might need them.