If you’re self-employed or you work an hourly job, it can be difficult to verify your income. And that can be a problem because income verification is a big part of the tenant screening process, and it’s also very important if you’re looking to buy — lenders want to ensure that you’ll be able to pay back that large loan over the next few decades, and a simple “I promise” rarely seems to do the trick.
But all is not lost if you need proof of income for renting an apartment or when buying a home. There are plenty of ways to verify your income, and you might even already have a few of them sitting around in your filing cabinet at home or on your computer.
Those with traditional employment likely already have some pay stubs lying around at home. It’s the most common income verification document, though many workers that don’t keep conventional hours or that aren’t paid the exact same amount every two or four weeks may not have access to one. For them, something beyond a pay stub will have to do.
Those that work on commissions or that get paid by the project may elect to print out bank statements or screenshot records in your online banking portal as examples of income verification. It might not look like an official document, but your bank statement should provide all the information needed to establish and verify your income. For extra points, use your bank’s online portal to filter direct deposits to clean up that statement and supply only the relevant income verification information.
As one of the most official income verification documents that you can provide, a full tax return or a W-2/W-4 is a great way to provide proof of income without much fuss. However, a tax return is likely overkill for simple income verification, and if it’s later in the year you may be supplying information that could already be out of date. But if your current income is similar to the information found in last year’s taxes, it might be all you need to provide proof of income when renting or buying.
Those that do contract or freelance work likely have a number of 1099 forms from their work during the year. While they’re commonly used to report taxable income, a 1099 form can also show much of what your tax returns or a bank statement would show without all that extraneous info. If you’re just trying to show your income in the simplest way possible, a 1099 is a great way to do that.
A Letter From Your Employer
If you work primarily for one company and most of your income is accounted for via this one relationship, you may be able to get by with a formal letter from your employer. It should include things such as your current rate and how often you get paid, as well as contact information for a manager or superior if someone needs to follow up for more information or to verify the veracity of the document.
Create Your Own Pay Stub
For those that don’t have ready access to their financial documentation or that want the easiest way to provide income verification may want to consider making your own pay stub. Our pay stub generator can have you up and running with the income verification you need in just minutes, and it only costs $8.99 to export and print one out for your own use.