Are Paystubs Legal Proof of Income? We Answer 7 Major Questions

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Do you need to apply for a loan or take out a new insurance plan? You may have to show proof of income. Renters may also need to verify a steady source of earnings to get the landlord’s approval. Multiple scenarios make income proof mandatory – from credit card applications to car dealerships and student loans. Paystubs are a commonly used method of showing evidence of your salary. But are they legal and admissible in most situations? We answer the ten most crucial questions in this context.

Are Paystubs Legal Proof of Income?
Are Paystubs Legal Proof of Income?

1. Can you use checkstubs to verify your income?

Yes. Most people use paystubs with tax documents to prove a stable income over time. Your payslips show your gross earnings, deductions, and the net income you take home at the end of a pay period. They also reflect your Social Security Number and any wage garnishments you may have to pay.

A paystub is unlikely to get accepted as solo proof of income if you are a contractor or get paid on commission. Landlords or financial bodies want to get the entire picture of your income from different heads. You will have to prepare supporting documents like stock certificates and child-support payments.

2. Does the paystub need to follow a specific template?

No, the payslip does not have to adhere to a set format to be admissible. However, it should look professional and reflect all the details about your earnings. Ideally, ensure that your checkstubs show the following details:

  • Your personal information
  • The pay period
  • Social Security Number
  • Your employer’s details
  • Gross earnings
  • Deductions
  • Benefits
  • Net earnings
  • Sick leave
  • Vacation pay


It is vital to share recent records from your current job. Old records are unlikely to be allowed since they will not show an updated picture to the lender, landlord, etc.

You can use an enhanced template on a paystub online if you need to design a paystub with additional fields like your marital status. offers a customized design at $4.99 per stub. You can also include your income from different sources. Freelancers who earn money from several clients in a pay period can benefit from it.

3. How many paystubs are required to show income proof?

Typically, you will need to share paystubs dating back to the last three or four months. However, this number will vary based on the exact application in question. For example, some apartment complexes may need to check paystubs for the last six months. A mortgage application may warrant records for only the previous 30 days if you provide W-2 forms and 1099.

The number of checkstubs you will have to gather also depends on your payment schedule. Do you get paid weekly? You will have to share at least twelve paystubs.

It is best to check with the institution in question to confirm their requirements in advance. You can then prepare a docket accordingly to avoid any delays or hiccups.

4. How can you show income proof if you are self-employed?

Self-employed professionals do not receive paystubs from an employer. More people are turning to freelance work or becoming consultants and contractors to achieve a better work-life balance than the corporate slog. How can they show proof of income without a regular checkstub from a company? You can use an online paystub generator to create the necessary records digitally. makes the process incredibly simple – comprising just three steps! Firstly, you have to enter the requisite personal and payment details. Then, an updated background calculator will do the grunt work for you. After previewing the generated checkstub, you can choose to e-mail or print it. Ensure to pick a trusted provider when looking for a free paystub maker. The internet has scores of fake entities that might output shoddy documents you cannot use in your applications.

Employee income proof

5. Can paystubs work as proof for income-based repayment plans?

Yes! You need to share complete documentation of all your taxable earnings if you have a repayment plan based on your income. Besides your salary, this will include money from interest, alimony, unemployment income, etc. Your paystubs can work perfectly to reflect your gross pay. You can use your W-2 form or Form 1099 to document the other income heads. Some people like to use multiple documents to give proof of the various incomes they earn.

6. How are paystubs verified?

In this digital age, forging documents has become rampant. Payslips are easy to fake, and many landlords and agencies are wary of accepting them. Your prospective landlord may follow up with your employer to confirm the information. You may also get asked to provide supporting documents. Some agencies hire specialized services to detect paystub fraud. Large-screen computers with special software can detect discrepancies like show lines, changed digits, misaligned decimals, etc. It is common for lenders to scrutinize checkstubs with great caution – more so if the loan amount is high.

It can be alluring to build spurious records to strengthen your application. However, fake paystubs can prove to be very expensive. You may have to incur penalties and risk losing your application. You can get black-listed for credit in the future. In the worst-case scenario, you may get prison time.

7. Are there any other modes of showing proof of income?

Yes. Apart from paystubs, you can use W-2 forms to show your earnings. Your bank statements can also document your salary and establish that you have a steady stream of income. Another approach is to share certificates for stocks. Preparing a set of documents is always the safest approach since different institutions have varying policies on what they consider legit. Here are some other options you can explore:

  • A letter from your employer on the company letterhead
  • Pension statement
  • Disability insurance
  • Any court-ordered payments

Paystubs are necessary financial documents that can serve you well for your day-to-day needs: medical coverage, credit cards, property investments, etc. They are widely used to verify income. If you don’t receive paystubs from your employer, you can request them to share the required documents. Using a free check stub maker is also a quick and time–saving option. We recommend tracking, reading, and storing your checkstubs to secure a good financial standing.

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