Proof of income can be defined as a document or set of documents required by a lender or a landlord to ascertain your ability to make payments. Proof of income letter is often required if you are looking for a new job, renting an apartment, or trying to get credit. The letter summarizes and verifies your income and employment status. This verification usually comes in the form of a letter written by the account owner, the employer, accountant, or a social security caseworker.
What can be used as proof of income?
Several documents can be used as proof of income. However, depending on the reason why you are being asked to present the document, some documents may be considered more authoritative than others. For instance, some institutions or individuals may require that you present a pay stub and a copy of federal tax returns others may only require a copy of your pay stub. The standard proof of income documents includes:
Documents from your employer
The best way to show proof of income is by using documents from your employer. These documents can give an updated picture of your income since it considers any changes in your wages from the past year. Some of the documents you may use from your employer include:
Pay Stubs: most lenders will require that you present your pay stub as proof of income. They may also require your pay stub to have the payment period and frequency listed to help them in verifying your income.
Proof of income letter: aproof of income letter can be used as both a recommendation letter and a verification of income depending on your relationship with your employer
The second and the most reliable way of showing proof of income is by presenting your most recent tax documents since they are legal documents. However, they may not be considered as reliable as pay stubs as taxes are only filed once a year. Any change in wages since the last tax session are not reflected here, so you may have to present additional documents like bank statements or pay stubs to help paint a more precise picture. Some of the tax documents you may use as proof of income include:
Last Year’s Tax Returns (1040): This document contains all your income sources in one place.
Wages and Tax Statements (W-2): W-2s forms can also be used to show proof of income. You will, however, be required to provide W-2 forms from all your employers to paint an accurate picture of your income.
Most of the documents that fall under this category are government-issued. These documents may, at times, be considered as proof of income, although they are not always consistent. You should not rely on these streams of income as proof; however, they may be helpful if you need to prove steady income for a short period. They include:
- Social Security proof of Income Letter: this document can readily be accessed and printed online. You can download and use it as proof of income.
- Annuity Statements: An annuity is an agreement between an insurance company and an individual, where the insurance company gives an individual a fixed stream of money in exchange for a lump sum. One can obtain an annuity statement from their insurance agents to use as proof of income.
- Court-Ordered Agreements: some of the agreements that fall under this category include; alimony and child support. One can request these documents from the court to use as proof of income
- Unemployment Benefits: unemployment benefits are usually given as temporary assistance to unemployed workers who meet certain requirements. One can contact their unemployment office directly to be furnished with a copy of their unemployment benefits statement.
- Workers Compensation letter: worker compensation is usually given to those injured in the line of duty. It includes wages and compensation for medical treatment. One can obtain a worker compensation letter from their insurance company or the court that handled their case.
How to Write a Proof of Income Letter
- Contact information: write the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the entity responsible for preparing the letter at the top of the page.
- Purpose of writing: after writing the contact information, write your reason for writing the letter. For example: “RE: Proof of Income Letter.”
This section helps the readers quickly understand the letter easily.
- Salutation: begin the letter with a polite greeting followed by the recipient’s name. e.g., “Dear Mr. Brian,” or “To Ms. Irene.”
If you are not sure whom to address the letter to, use the standard, “To Whom It May Concern.”
- Introduction: introduce yourself and provide a brief explanation of why you are writing the proof of income letter. E.g. “The cause for writing this letter is to provide income verification for Mrs. Monica Wayne with regards to her recent application for…”
- Provide details about the basic income: if you are writing this letter for your employee, outline how much they are making, how they are making their money, how long they have been making that kind of money and how long they will be able to maintain the same/higher income.
“Mrs. Monica’s annual salary is $454,500. She receives an annual living adjustment of 3% and a yearly bonus that has averaged to around $5,520 each of the twelve years she has been employed with….”
- Attached documents: inform the recipient of any attached documents and provide your contact information that will be used in case they need any other information or verification
- Thank the reader: thank the reader for taking their time to read the letter and close the letter with a formal closing salutation followed by your full name
Proof of Income Letter Template
Proof of Income Letter
__ [employers name]
__ [Employers Address]
__ [City, State, Zip]
RE: Proof of Income Letter
I am writing to you concerning [name of employee], an employee of _ [name of company] since _ [duration of employment] [employee name] currently holds the title of __ [job title].
____ [employers name] works on a [contract/part/full time] basis and works _ hours per week. _ [employees name] earns _ [amount in dollars] on a _ basis.
If you have inquiries or need any additional information, please feel free to contact me at __ [employers’ phone, email, or any other mode of contact]
__ [employers name, signature, and title]
Sample Letters & Examples
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens during employment verification?
During this process, an employer may disclose a former or current employee’s job title, the employment duration, salary amount, job responsibilities, performance, and whether they were terminated or resigned. There are no laws limiting what an employer can or cannot disclose; however, this usually differs from one state to another. You should, therefore, check with your state department to confirm what type of information an employer is permitted to disclose during verification.
Are employers required to give Employment Verification?
There are no federal laws that require employers to verify employment on their former employees. However, the employer may find themselves in lawsuits if they refuse to provide information based on color, sex, race, and non-job-related factors.
Do I have to provide proof of income?
Depending on the reason why you are being asked to produce a proof of income letter, you are the one to determine whether to produce it or not as it is your personal information. However, even though you may not be legally obliged to produce proof of income, there is no way to be sure how the recipient of the letter may react. Declining to disclose your income status may result in losing a job opportunity.