Financial Planning for Generation X & Y Women
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Expert Q&A Archive

How long should you keep pay stubs?
How long should you need to keep pay stubs?
Sharon P. Hardy, CFE:
expert info »
As a rule of thumb, I would say that a retention period of two to three months is more than sufficient. If the purpose for retention is primarily for evidencing proof of employment, with regard to qualifying for a loan or purchasing a major item such as a home or car, additional supporting documentation (i.e. W-2's; tax returns; credit reports) would also be required, and could be obtained from the customer or independently from the entity that would be providing the funding of the loan.
Rosemary Ervin, CPA:
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Until you get your W-2, so you can make certain that the reporting is accurate

Authors Note: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication (including attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties assessed under the Internal Revenue Code.
Jeff Kyle:
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There is no requirement on keeping your pay stubs. You should review them each pay period for accuracy & certainly your end of year statement that summarizes and totals all the info for the year (tax reasons to keep this one), but really once you know it's accurate, then it's just how long you want to keep them. When I worked for someone else, I used to keep mine for a year. After that year, I would shred them all, except the annual statement.
Gail Rosen, CPA:
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The pay stubs you can get rid of once you know your W2 is correct.
Elizabeth Rusnak:
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If you're not self-employed, keeping pay-stubs for 3 to 6 months is adequate. If you're applying for a home loan, this is generally the time period of pay verification requested.
Jody Rorick, CPA:
expert info »
You should keep your W2 with your tax return for as long as you keep your tax return (IRS says 3 years from the filing date. I say 7 years to be sure). If you don't need your pay stubs for any other reason--for example, you might be purchasing company stock each pay period, so you might want to keep the pay stubs for the cost basis, for the day when you sell the stock, and will need to know what you paid for it, or if there are other deductions you need proof of, such as health insurance premiums--you don't need to keep your pay stubs. You need to look at the stubs to see if you need the information that is on them before discarding them.
Connie K. Marmet:
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That is a personal preference