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What’s a Pay Stub and What’s Included on It?


Many financial services have moved online in recent years. We now have direct check deposit, mobile and online banking, and digital budgeting.

This means you may not even look at your pay stubs or know what a pay stub is. If you only focus on your paycheck amount, you’re overlooking a lot of other important information. 

So, what’s a pay stub? Keep reading to learn more about this essential document. 

What’s a Pay Stub? 

You can find your pay stub attached to your paycheck. It details information such as the number of hours you worked, the taxes you paid, and the wages you earned during that pay period and year. This information breaks into different categories that are important to keep track of around tax season. 

If you don’t receive a pay stub, consider using a customizable paystub template to make your own. 

What’s On a Pay Stub?

Along with your personal information—like your full name, Social Security number, and employer ID—your pay stub will also detail the following: 

Gross pay: Money earned before tax deductions

Net pay: Earnings after tax deductions (also called take-home pay)

Hours: Hours worked during the pay period listed

Rate: How much you make per hour of work

Current total: Amount of gross wages after any overtime, tips, bonus pay, or other forms of income are added

YTD gross: Year-To-Date gross income earned during that fiscal year

YTD net pay: Year-To-Date net income earned during that fiscal year 

YTD deductions: Year-To-Date total amount of money deducted during the fiscal year for tax or other purposes 

You may have been told to hang onto your pay stubs. It’s a good idea to keep them not only so you can prove you have an income if you’re applying for loans, leases, or credit cards, but so you make sure you’re being paid correctly. 

Pay Stubs and Taxes 

Depending on your workplace and employment status, you’ll see multiple different categories under taxes, withholding, and deductions on your paystub.

When you were hired, you filled out a form from the IRS called a W-4. A W-4 indicates how much money in taxes you want taken out of your gross pay every period. It will be represented by a 0 or a 1.

If you claim 0 allowances, this means you pay more in taxes every pay period. Although this reduces your take-home pay, it means you’ll probably get a tax refund next year. 

If you claim 1 allowance, you will have a bigger paycheck to take home but you may owe money in taxes next year. 

Other deductions you may see on your pay stub are:

SS Tax: Social Security taxes, or money (6.2%) from your paycheck to pay the Social Security Administration. 

SWT: State withholding tax, or money from your paycheck used to pay for public services 

FWT: Federal withholding tax, or money from your check that is paid to the federal government 

401(k): If your employer offers it, you can pay into a retirement savings plan like a 401(k) to invest part of your income 

Understanding Your Pay Stub Made Simple 

We hope this guide has answered your question “what’s a pay stub?”. Pay stubs are important documents you need for proof of income and tax purposes. And, if you don’t receive a formal pay stub from your employer, you can create your own pay stub. 

If you found this article helpful, check out the rest of our website for more informative posts about technology, finances, and more.

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