A pay stub is an itemized statement of earnings. At a minimum, it displays general employee information, the number of hours worked, gross wages, net wages, and deductions taken from an employee’s earnings. The paystub reflects a specific pay period and it is often issued biweekly or weekly, but how often will depend on the company's pay schedule.
The information on a pay stub can be used for tax purposes and other financial situations.
When you need paystubs for your employees or for yourself, paystub generators allow you to quickly and easily generate them, right from your home or office.
Unfortunately, there has been some confusion over whether paystub generators are legal. This article will explain what there is to know about paystub generators, fake paystubs, and whether or not they are legal.
What is a paystub generator?
A pay stub generator is a software program or online service that will create a pay stub from the data that you provide. There are many companies that provide this service, and the prices vary. Some might charge according to the number of stubs you make, while others might charge a subscription fee. Payroll services can provide pay stubs, but this can be very expensive for a small business and not accessible to a sole proprietor.
Are Paystub Generators Legal?
If you’ve been researching to figure out whether or not paystub generators are legal, you’re probably finding contradictory information. Let's set your fears to rest by getting the facts from, Real Check Subs™, the industry experts.
Federal law does not require employers to provide their employees with pay stubs. However, many states do mandate pay stubs and the specifics vary, depending on which state you are in. Some states require printed stubs, while others only require that a paper stub be easily accessed when needed.
Some might assume that because paystub generators can be used to falsify documents, they must be illegal. This isn't true. Using a fake pay stub is illegal. Using a falsified pay stub can be considered fraud and it could have legal consequences.
Basic Information on Paystubs
You will find that pay stub details and layouts vary by employer. Some pay stubs show very detailed paycheck information and others display the minimum required information.
In addition to basic information (employer name and address, employee name, and employee identification number (EIN) or social security number), a paystub should show:
Gross wages - the total amount of money paid before any deductions.
Deductions - money deducted from the gross wage. This automatically includes Social Security and Medicare (FICA), and federal, state, and local taxes.
Miscellaneous deductions - these are voluntary deductions and may include 401K, health insurance, and more.
Net pay - earnings that you keep after all of the deductions are taken.
The number of hours worked and the pay period.
How to Check Fake Paystubs
Falsified information can create problems and using falsified information in certain circumstances is illegal.
For example, landlords might face a problem when they use pay stubs to verify income. Knowing how to spot fake pay stubs will help landlords ensure that they are getting an accurate understanding of whether an applicant will be able to pay rent. Unfortunately, they can be tricked into accepting fake pay stubs.
Take time to learn how to spot fake pay stubs!
Check for obvious typos or mistakes.
A fake paystub may contain mistakes or typos that make it easy for you to suspect that they are fake. Some common mistakes include misspellings or an abnormal pay period range.
Check the stub date. The stub is typically dated shortly after the end of the pay period (not before or within the pay period). Also, check how many digits and the format of the social security number.
The template should not lack professional details.
A pay stub that has a generally unprofessional appearance should be suspect of fraud.
The stub should be detailed, and organized, and it should not be blurry. All the lines, numbers, and characters should be even. Check that the number zero is used and not the letter "O." Similarly, check for misaligned decimals because the software should align digits and decimals correctly.
The stub should have all the basic information.
The employer's name, address, and the employee's name should always be at top of a pay stub, no matter how the rest is organized.
The pay stub details will include the pay period, hours worked, gross pay, deductions, and net pay (see above), at a minimum. If the employer doesn't include this information, then there's something fishy going on.
The amounts on the stub should match up.
When looking at an employee's pay stub, it's easy to see how much of their gross earnings were withheld for taxes, how much was taken in deductions, and what their net wages should be. Make sure that these amounts add up properly.
If you ask for more than one pay stub for income verification, then check to see if the amounts carried over from previous pay periods are accurate.
Review The Image Data
If you receive a digital copy of the pay stub, you might be able to learn about the document - where the pay stub is from, how it was created, and more. The metadata (EXIF data) will hold all the details about the image. If a person uses programs such as Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop, you can see this information and any manipulation.
Facts About Pay Stub Fraud
Pay stub fraud is the act of faking your pay stub in order to gain an unfair advantage in a transaction. It isn’t always easy to get away with, but there are some who try. The fines for pay stub fraud are very high and you can even face jail time.
Here are facts about pay stub fraud and how people try to get away with it.
Some People Use Fake Paystubs to Scam
Paystubs are legal documents and they are often used to provide proof of income, so many people have used them to falsify information in order to scam. While this is not as common as it once was, there are still cases where people are caught forging pay stubs. Here are some examples:
The most common reason that people use fake paystubs is to inflate their actual income to get a loan. This has gotten more difficult because lenders have started to ask for bank statements and other income documents that provide income verification.
Potential renters might attempt to appear to have more income than they actually do, in order to qualify to lease a property.
Employers might use fake paystubs in order to fool their employees into thinking they were paid their wages when they were not.
Employers use fake paystubs to avoid taxes
Occasionally employers might provide fake or fraudulent documents so that they can withhold excess tax from their employee's paychecks. In other words, the stubs can be altered so that more withholding tax will be deducted from the gross pay than is necessary. Then the employer remits the correct (lesser) amount to the IRS - and keeps the excess.
Also, people that have variable work hours should check their pay stubs to be sure that they are not being underpaid. In this type of fraud, employers not only save by paying the employee less, but they also pay less in payroll taxes.
These are only two examples of why employers might make a fake pay stub. There are more, and it usually has to do with paying taxes. If you can't make sense of your pay stub, your best bet is to ask your employer for an explanation or verify your pay stub with your own calculations, especially if you see signs that the company is having financial trouble.
The Penalty For Using Fake Pay Stubs Isn't Worth
Of course, people should never create fake pay stubs. In time, using fake stub templates will lead to trouble, possibly legal trouble - hefty fines and/or jail time. Instead of making your own fake pay stub templates, create real pay stubs using the Real Check Stubs™ Paystub Generator. We have satisfied customers all over the United States and we make things simple!
FAQ: Are Paystub Generators Legal?
Do you ever wonder if the paystub generators you see online are legal? Are they accurate, or will you be penalized by the IRS? Are they secure? Below are answers to the most commonly asked questions about pay stub generators. Read on to learn more!
How do I know which paystub generator is right for me?
You may be looking for a pay stub generator because you have employees, you are self-employed, or maybe you just want to change the format of your pay stubs. But how do you know which one is the best for you? The answer will depend on what type of system you want, how often you need your paycheck stubs, and what format you prefer. Real Check Stubs™ has many templates available for you to use to create real, accurate pay stubs. You can even customize our templates!
What's the best paystub generator?
The best paystub generator is one that you can trust. It should be affordable and give you what you need, quickly and easily! Real Check Stubs™ Paystub Generator Tool can be used anywhere that has an internet connection, without purchasing software or other tools. It automatically provides accurate pay stub calculations on a professional, real pay stub.
Can I make a realistic pay stub?
The answer is yes - the Real Check Stubs™ Paystub Generator, creates realistic pay stubs. Our pay stubs are professional looking and can be customized to reflect any paycheck information that you want to report.
Are paystub generators legal?
Yes! Pay stub generators are legal. There are no laws that prohibit a person from creating a pay stub, only from falsifying the information on it and then using it in certain situations. Employers should understand the laws in their state before creating any type of pay stub.
How to Choose a Paystub Generator
Many sites offer a paystub generator, so how do you know which one to trust? Well, there are some things you can do to narrow the field.
Look for reviews on the site. Are people happy with the way that the pay stubs look and function? Are they accurate and professional?
Does the company provide 24/7 customer service? You will want a way to reach someone if you have a problem or question.
Do you have to purchase expensive software or need to invest in other equipment or supplies?
Luckily, Real Check Stubs™ Paystub Generator will give you all this and more! It is the online tool we recommend to create professional pay stubs. Start now creating your own online pay stubs and see how easy we make this for you!