Importance of Keeping the Pay Stubs

Importance of Keeping the Pay Stubs
Kristen Larson
By Kristen Larson
April 25, 2023

Importance of Keeping the Pay Stubs

The purpose of a paystub, often called a payslip, is to provide employees with a record of their earnings and deductions for a certain pay period from their company. It normally includes a number of details that explain the basis for the employee's compensation and any deductions that were taken out. The pay stub typically contains the employee's name, address, and the pay period for which the stub was issued. It displays the employee's gross pay for the pay period or their earnings before taxes and other deductions.


The pay stub includes any federal, state, and local taxes that were withheld. Contributions, medical insurance payments, and other costs associated with being an employee are all accounted for here. The amount of money left over for the worker after deductions and taxes have been made is usually found on their pay stub.


A pay stub's objective is to reveal and verify an employee's earnings and deductions. It explains the method used to determine an employee's salary, the types of deductions that were taken out of their paycheck, and the net amount the employee received. In addition, employees rely on pay stubs because they contain crucial information for filing their taxes. But as the newbies in the workforce often wonder in their minds, “Should I keep my pay stubs?” and for how long?


Knowing how long to keep paycheck stubs is important for personal record keeping and financial management. Generally, it is recommended to keep paycheck stubs for at least three years for tax purposes, as the IRS audits tax returns and requests documentation to support the deductions and credits.


For the inexperienced, the question “What do pay stubs look like?” is relatively common. Employers have the option of providing pay stubs either on paper or digitally. Depending on the payroll cycle of the company, they are issued weekly, bimonthly, or monthly. Paycheck stubs are essential for keeping track of money and providing proof of earnings and deductions to employees.

Why Is It Important to Keep Your Pay Stubs?

Paycheck stubs are extremely useful for both businesses and workers. Employees are able to verify their earnings by examining their pay stubs, which detail their gross compensation, deductions, and net pay. Such data is typically requested when applying for a mortgage, credit card, or apartment lease. Paycheck stubs serve as a valuable source of data for filling out tax forms. Workers need accurate information about their earnings, deductions (such as taxes and health insurance premiums), and take-home pay in order to budget effectively and save for the future.


Pay stubs are an essential tool for businesses in terms of complying with payroll tax reporting requirements and keeping track of employee earnings. A pay stub generator is a simple and convenient way for employers to create pay stubs instantly for their employees. It simplifies payroll tracking and management by keeping a complete accounting of each worker's pay and deductions. Using a pay stub generator saves time and ensures that employees receive accurate and professional-looking pay stubs. It helps employers stay compliant with any relevant regulations, such as tax or labor laws, by automatically calculating taxes and other deductions based on the employee's pay and withholding information.


Furthermore, payroll stubs are capable of being used as proof in court if a disagreement arises about wages. A pay stub is consulted when an employee suspects that their compensation has been incorrectly calculated. It's useful for settling disputes over compensation that hasn't been received. Additionally, pay stubs are often used as evidence of work when applying for things like a mortgage or renting an apartment. 


Pay stubs are an integral aspect of financial management since they provide employees with proof of their earnings and expenses. It has several applications, including but not limited to income verification, tax filing, and conflict settlement.

How Long Should You Keep Your Pay Stubs?

Employees must maintain their pay stubs for varying amounts of time based on their intended use and applicable laws. Generally, paycheck stubs are kept for a minimum of one year. Doing so ensures that employees have the necessary documentation to file their taxes and settle any problems with their employer if the need arises.


However, workers ought to secure their pay stubs for a longer period if they need to substantiate their income for a specific purpose, such as applying for a loan or a rental agreement. Pay stubs are sometimes required for as long as two years by some lenders or landlords.


It's equally worth noting that taxpayers must preserve records of their income and deductions for at least three years after the date their tax return was filed, as mandated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Therefore, in order to be in accordance with IRS requirements, it is recommended to keep these pay stubs for around three years.


Ultimately, pay stubs are encouraged to be kept for a longer period than is legally mandated to give workers the peace of mind that they have proof of income and expenses needed to support whatever venture it is that they wish to pursue.

What are the Uses of Pay Stubs?

A pay slip is a document that an employer provides to their employees as a record of their pay and deductions for a specific pay period. It includes information such as the employee's gross pay, any taxes or other deductions that were taken out, and their net pay. Consequently, pay stubs contain details on any benefits or contributions that were made during the pay period such as contributions, insurances, or other benefits. The layout and design of a pay stub vary depending on the employer’s payroll processing system. However, the information provided on the pay stub is typically standardized to provide employees with a clear and detailed record of their overall income.


Pay stubs serve several practical purposes for both employers and employees. Pay stubs provide employees with proof of income and other important information about their pay and benefits. These allow employees to verify their income when applying for loans, credit cards, or rental agreements. Pay slips are used to prepare taxes since they provide a detailed breakdown of the employee’s earnings and deductions. Such detailed breakdowns are especially useful in terms of budgeting so employees are able to identify which areas they are able to reduce expenses such as by changing their benefits or reducing their tax withholdings for them to plan their expenses and savings for future goals wisely. 


On the other hand, employers make use of pay stubs as an essential record of employee compensation. Pay slips provide a detailed breakdown of each employee’s earnings, taxes, and deductions, making it easier to track and manage payrolls. Additionally, pay stubs help employers stay compliant with tax and labor regulations, as they provide a detailed record of employee compensation.


Overall, pay stubs serve several practical uses for both employers and employees. They provide a transparent record of employee compensation, which is used for various purposes, including verification of income, tax preparation, and budgeting. Pay stubs are an essential component of payroll management and help both employers and employees stay organized and informed about their finances.

1. Can be Used for Filing Your Taxes

Taxes are compulsory payments that individuals and businesses are required to make to the government to finance public services such as education, healthcare, defense, and infrastructure development. Taxes are typically leveled on income, property, goods and services, and other forms of economic activity. The amount of taxes paid by individuals and businesses is determined by their income, expenses, and other factors, as well as the tax laws and regulations in their jurisdiction.


Pay stubs play an important role in filing taxes, as they provide valuable information that taxpayers need to complete their tax returns accurately. Pay stubs include information on the employee’s gross pay, taxes withheld, and any other deductions or contributions made during the pay period. Verifying these details is a vital step in filing taxes accurately. It is important that all the basic information and year-to-date totals for earnings, taxes, and deductions on the pay stub match the employer’s records. 


Taxpayers use such information to calculate their taxable income, claim deductions, and determine their tax liability when filing taxes. Taxpayers are unable to file their taxes correctly resulting in errors or even an audit by the IRS without accurate pay stubs. Oftentimes, tax authorities require pay stubs as supporting documentation for tax returns. Such is true especially if an individual is claiming certain deductions or credits that require proof of income, such as Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child and Dependent Care Credit.


Pay stubs provide a more detailed record of each pay period, which is useful in identifying discrepancies or errors in an employee's earnings or taxes. Any errors found have to be immediately addressed with the employer or payroll department. Correcting any discrepancies on the pay stub is essential to ensure that taxes are filed accurately and avoid potential issues with the IRS.


Overall, pay stubs are an important component of filing taxes and help taxpayers ensure that they file their returns accurately and avoid any potential issues with the IRS. Taking the time to verify pay stubs before filing taxes allows taxpayers to ensure that their tax returns are accurate and complete, avoiding any penalties or interest charges. Additionally, accurate pay stubs provide a clear record of earnings and taxes withheld that are used for other purposes, such as verifying income when applying for loans or rental agreements.

2. Can be Used for Identity Verification Purposes

Pay stubs are used as identity proof in certain situations. Income verification is a standard aspect of the application process for any financial service, including loans and leases. A pay stub proves the applicant's identity, as well as their work status and income, in such a situation.


A person's pay stub serves as identification in cases where they need to prove their name or residence. Credit card companies typically request a pay stub from applicants as a means of verifying their identity and preventing fraud. It's crucial to note that pay stubs aren't always accepted as identification. Other types of identification such as a driver's license or passport, are needed in certain situations. 


The need of verifying the legitimacy of a pay stub before accepting it as proof of income or identification cannot be overstated in light of the numerous cases in which pay stubs have been fraudulently altered. Paychecks have to be double-checked for any mathematical or other errors as well as missing information. One must get in touch with the relevant company or payroll department in order to verify the accuracy of a pay stub. 


In conclusion, pay stubs are utilized as a means of identification verification, especially when substantiating financial or occupational claims. Employees are assured that the information they are providing is accurate by double-checking their pay stubs. Remember that pay stubs have the tendency to be forged; therefore, one must take precautions to ensure their authenticity before using them to validate their income or identity. 

3. Can be Used to Keep Track of the Hours You Work

Hours worked are usually recorded on a pay stub for later reference. Pay stubs typically detail the employee's hourly wage, total earnings, and the number of hours worked for the pay period. Employees are able to verify they were paid correctly by checking their pay stubs to compare the hours worked to the amount received.


Moreover, some businesses mandate the use of timesheets or other manual or automated methods for recording employee work hours. Paychecks and salaries are calculated based on these records. Workers ascertain that they are getting compensated for all of their hours worked by comparing their own records to the pay stub.


There are numerous reasons why it's crucial to keep track of working hours. First, it guarantees that workers receive fair compensation for their time. Second, it aids in spotting problems with money or hours worked, which are then rectified with the company or payroll office. Lastly, having a detailed record of money and hours worked aids in budgeting and planning.


It is the employee's responsibility to verify their pay stubs on a regular basis for any errors or irregularities and to report them to their company or payroll department. The pay stub serves as a record of wages and hours worked, which is helpful for budgeting and planning, and it is especially useful in verifying the number of hours worked to ensure an accurate payment is received for their labor.

4. Can be Used to Get Ready for Tax Audit

Having a record of one's wages, taxes withheld, and other deductions are proven to be helpful in the event of a tax audit.  It's important to have accurate and complete records of income and expenses to ensure that tax returns are filed correctly. 


Paycheck stubs are often required as proof of income and taxes are withheld in the case of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service or another taxing authority. It is the responsibility of the individual to compile all of their pay stubs from the applicable tax year and verify their accuracy and completeness. It is the duty of the employee to verify the accuracy of their pay stubs, including the recording of their earnings, taxes withheld, and any other deductions.


It is crucial to check the legitimacy of pay stubs to ensure the data displayed is true and has not been tampered with. Pay stub forgery is a serious offense that carries serious legal repercussions. Therefore, it is incumbent upon workers to exercise due diligence in establishing the legitimacy of pay stubs before relying on them in any capacity.


It is more likely to be genuine and the employee ought to trust it if a pay stub has a watermark or other security feature that is difficult to copy. Inconsistencies on a pay stub are frequently indicative of forgery or tampering.


Workers have to safely keep any and all paperwork that is able to shed light on their financial situation (e.g. pay stubs, invoices, and bank statements). They are able to provide the tax authority with a comprehensive picture of their revenue and expenses when employees have all of their financial documents in order and ready for an audit.

5. Can be Used as Proof of Income

Paycheck stubs are frequently presented as income documentation. Credit reports help lenders, landlords, and others assess a tenant's or borrower's financial stability. The pay stub details the employee's gross salary, taxable income, and any deductions or withholdings. It is crucial to have complete and correct pay stubs for the appropriate time period if one intends to utilize them as evidence of income. Paycheck stubs from the current year or multiple prior years are often required, depending on the specifics of the situation. The employee's name, address, and Social Security number have to be accurate and up-to-date on the pay stub. 


Paycheck stubs are not generally considered evidence of financial stability. Some organizations ask for supplementary proof or paperwork to back it up. Paychecks ought to be double-checked against payroll records and other reliable databases to ensure their accuracy. These resources double-check the pay stub and guarantee its legitimacy.


Paycheck stubs are an excellent resource for substantiating earnings claims. Individuals utilize pay stubs to prove their financial standing by verifying the information on the stub and giving additional proof if requested. Paycheck stubs and other forms of income verification are often required to meet specific requirements, so it's crucial to know what those are ahead of time.

6. Can be Used for Loan

A loan is a financial transaction in which one party, typically a financial institution or lender, provides money or other assets to another party, known as the borrower, with the expectation that the borrower redeems the loan amount plus interest or other fees over time. Loans are used for a variety of purposes, including the purchase of a residence or vehicle, education expenses, debt consolidation, and unforeseen expenses.


The lender has to determine whether or not the applicant is able to afford to repay the loan. Lenders are required to verify the borrower's information, including pay receipts. Pay slips from the previous few months and year-to-date totals are used to verify the borrower's income and employment status. Pay stubs are checked for any inconsistencies with other documentation such as tax returns or employment verification by contacting the borrower’s employer to confirm their employment status, job title, and income. The lender investigates any discrepancies discovered on the pay stubs such as unexplained employment gaps or inconsistencies in the amount of pay received. 


The debt-to-income ratio of a borrower is determined by examining their pay records. It is a crucial criterion used by lenders to determine whether a borrower is eligible for the loan and is able to afford the payments. It is difficult to obtain a loan if a borrower has a high debt-to-income ratio. Paystubs demonstrate the borrower's employment and income stability, thereby decreasing the likelihood of loan default. Additionally, pay receipts to reveal to the lender how long the borrower has been employed at their current job, how frequently they are paid, and whether there have been any recent changes to their income or employment status.

7. Can be Used as Basis Prior for New Employment

A new job presents an opportunity for development, learning, and the formation of a new professional network. It provides financial stability and security, as well as career advancement opportunities. Submitting a job application, attending an interview, and negotiating a job offer are all components of the employment application process. The employer typically requests various documents and information, such as a resume, references, and pay slips to verify the applicant's qualifications and employment history. Pay slips provide valuable information about the applicant's earnings, deductions, and employment status, enabling the employer to make an informed hiring decision.


Paycheck receipts serve as a foundation for new employment opportunities. Applicants must adhere to specific guidelines to verify the veracity of their pay stubs, particularly if their employers request them as part of the hiring process. The employer must obtain the applicant's permission to access their pay slips since it is considered confidential and private. Employers must thoroughly examine the pay slips to ensure their accuracy and completeness, confirming that the dates, amounts, and deductions match the applicant's employment history and earnings. 


Frequently, employers contact the applicant's former supervisor to confirm the employment status, job title, and salary listed on their payment receipts. Employers must adhere to federal and state laws regarding equitable employment practices and privacy laws, such as not discriminating against job applicants based on their income or employment history and maintaining the confidentiality of pay stubs. Employers are able to make informed recruiting decisions based on the veracity of such documents, ensuring that they hire qualified, trustworthy employees. Furthermore, pay slips provide insight into an applicant's work ethic and job performance. It demonstrates an applicant’s dedication and work ethic if the applicant's pay papers show a history of consistent employment and promotions or raise. 

8. Can be Used to Identify Errors

Employees have to verify their pay stubs to ensure that they are being paid accurately and equitably for their work. The first step in validating pay slips is to confirm that the pay rate corresponds to the agreed-upon hourly wage or annual salary. The employee must then verify that the hours listed on the payment receipt match the actual hours worked. 


Verifying pay slips involves verifying the deductions taken from the paycheck, such as taxes, insurance, and retirement contributions. An employee who worked overtime during the pay period must verify that the overtime hours and rate of pay have been calculated accurately. 


Comparing the current pay receipt to previous pay stubs help identify any discrepancies or anomalous changes. Employees identify errors and discrepancies and bring them to the attention of their employer or payroll department through such a method of pay receipt verification. 


Pay stubs are an integral part of the employer-employee relationship because they provide both parties with a clear comprehension of the employee's earnings and deductions. Employees ensure that they are paid accurately and fairly by using pay stubs to monitor their earnings and identify errors, while employers ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations.

How to Get Pay Stubs without Keeping Hard Copies?

Obtaining pay stubs without keeping hard copies is becoming increasingly common in today's digital age. One of the most convenient options is electronic pay stubs which are accessed online using a pay stub generator. A fool-proof guide on how to use a pay stub generator is listed below in case one needs instructions on how to use it:


  1. First, choose a reliable pay stub generator. Look for a reputable pay stub generator that offers accurate calculations, secure data storage, and compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
  2. Second, gather the necessary information. Collect the employee's name, address, social security number, and other required information. Additionally, it’s important to have information about the employee's gross pay, hours worked, and any deductions that apply.
  3. Third, enter employee information. Enter the employee's name, address, social security number, and other relevant information into the pay stub generator.
  4. Fourth, enter income details. Enter the employee's gross pay, hours worked, pay rate, and any overtime pay into the pay stub generator.
  5. Fifth, add deductions. Enter any applicable deductions from the employee's paycheck, such as taxes, insurance, and retirement contributions.
  6. Next, preview and edit. Review the pay stub to ensure that all information is accurate and complete. Make any necessary edits to correct errors or inaccuracies.
  7. Then, generate a pay stub. Generate the pay stub and save it as a PDF file once all information has been entered and verified. 
  8. Distributing pay stubs is the last step in how to use Paystub. Provide the pay stub to the employee either in person or through email, as per the company's policies.


Following these instructions allow employers to properly generate accurate and professional pay stubs for their employees using a pay stub generator. It's important to ensure that the pay stubs comply with federal and state laws regarding pay stub information and distribution, as failure to comply results in penalties or fines. Properly generated pay stubs ensure that employees are informed about their earnings and deductions, and help build trust and transparency in the employer-employee relationship.

How to Verify Pay Stubs?

Fake pay stubs have serious consequences both for the parties involved and for society as a whole. It's important to ensure that pay stubs are legitimate and accurate to prevent fraud and maintain trust and transparency in financial transactions. Fake pay stubs are created for various reasons, such as to obtain a loan, rent an apartment, or apply for a job. Here are 8 ways to spot and identify fake stubs:


  1. First, look for incorrect or inconsistent information. Incorrect or inconsistent information is one of the most common indicators of a phony pay stub. Verify that the employee's name, SSN, and pay rate correspond to the information provided by the employer. Inconsistencies in any of these details suggest that the pay stub is fake.
  2. Second, check for missing or incomplete information. Incomplete or missing information is another telltale indicator of a fake pay stub. Verify that the paid receipt contains all required details, including earnings, deductions, and taxes. It is a possible sign of a fraudulent pay receipt if vital information is missing or incomplete.
  3. Third, determine incorrect calculations. Frequently, phony pay slips contain incorrect calculations. Verify that the calculations on the payment receipt correspond to the number of hours worked, pay rate, and deductions. The pay stub is likely fraudulent if the calculations are incorrect or do not tally up.
  4. Fourth, observe unprofessional appearances. A fabricated paycheck receipt has an unprofessional appearance. Ensure that the pay stub has a professional appearance, including legible fonts, a clear layout, and correct punctuation and grammar. 
  5. Fifth, be aware of suspicious payment amounts. The payment amounts on a fake pay stub are notably excessive or low. Check that the employee's compensation is reasonable and commensurate with their position and industry. The pay stub is most likely fraudulent if the payment quantities appear excessively high or low.
  6. Next, check for the lack of company information. False pay stubs often omit crucial company information. Verify that the pay stub includes the employer's name and contact information. If such information is lacking or incomplete, then the pay stub is certainly fake.
  7. Then, track inconsistent pay frequency. The frequency of pay on a false pay stub does not correspond to the employee's actual payment schedule. Check that the pay stub corresponds to the employee's pay frequency, such as weekly or biweekly. Pay frequencies that do not match the employee's pay schedule help to identify fake stubs.
  8. Lastly, flag unverifiable information. False pay slips frequently contain unverifiable information. Verify that the information on the pay stub is verifiable by contacting the employer or perusing tax records.


Employers and other parties are able to spot and identify fake pay stubs and take appropriate action by carefully reviewing pay stubs for these signs. It's important to ensure that pay stubs are accurate and legitimate to prevent fraud and maintain compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Are Pay Stubs Legal Documents?

Paycheck stubs are not legal documents of any kind. Nevertheless, pay stubs are vital financial documents since they detail a worker's salary after accounting for taxes and other deductions. A pay stub is a document that an employer or payroll agency creates to document an employee's payment and earnings.


Paycheck stubs aren't considered "legal documents" in the technical sense, they are capable of being used as evidence in court. They are utilized in situations where an employee claims they were underpaid or in wage disputes. In addition, federal and state laws compel companies to keep pay stubs and other payroll records for a particular time period.


Paycheck stubs are often treated as confidential documents that are shielded from disclosure by federal and state privacy regulations. Thus, it is the responsibility of employers to safeguard their employees' pay stub information from unauthorized access.  

Can I Request a New Copy of my Pay Stubs?

Yes. Employees have the right to request a new copy of their pay stubs from their employer or payroll department. When an employee requests a copy of their pay stub, their employer is required by law to provide it. Employees have a right to examine their pay stubs, which contain vital information about their wages, taxes, and other deductions.


Depending on the company's regulations and procedures, employees have to go through different hoops to get a replacement pay stub. Pay stubs are often made available electronically by some companies, while others require employees to submit a written or in-person request.

Employees who need a replacement pay stub ought to approach their HR or payroll department to learn the proper protocol for doing so. Pay stub requests often require at least the employee's name, employee ID number, and the pay period for which the stub is being requested.


Employees need to be aware that there are restrictions on how often they are able to view their pay stubs. Some companies, for instance, only allow their employees to view pay stubs for the current or prior year. Moreover, paycheck stub copies aren't always provided free of charge from all companies.


In conclusion, workers have the legal right to ask their employer or payroll department for a replacement copy of their pay stubs. Depending on the company's rules and regulations, the procedure for making a request is likely to be different. Employees ought to be informed of any restrictions on obtaining pay stubs and any associated costs.

Are Employers Required to Issue Pay Stubs to All Employees?

Employers are generally required to provide all employees with pay slips. The precise requirements vary by state or jurisdiction, but the majority of states mandate that employers provide employees with a paystub or other written record of their earnings and deductions.


The required information on a pay stub is different depending on the state or jurisdiction. However, most pay receipts contain the employee's name and address, the pay period covered, the employee's gross pay, any deductions or taxes withheld, and the employee's net pay.


Employers are required to provide pay slips at the time of payment or shortly thereafter, in paper or electronic format. Electronic pay stubs have to satisfy certain requirements for accessibility and security, and employees are encouraged to have access to a printer if they desire to print a paper copy. It is essential for employers to comply with pay stub requirements so that employees have accurate and complete documents of their earnings and deductions. The failure to provide pay stubs or the provision of inaccurate pay stubs have legal consequences, such as fines or penalties.

Related Articles