If you’re in the process of applying for a new job, you might be wondering, ‘Why would a company running a background check require a w2 or pay stubs?’

A background check is typically conducted by professional background check companies hired by employers to ensure they’re making informed hiring decisions. 

While you may expect such inquiries to be limited to criminal records and references, you’ll be surprised to learn that these companies sometimes ask for additional documents like W2 forms or pay stubs. 

In this article, we at Check Stub Maker will explore the reasons behind this seemingly intrusive request, the legalities involved and how you can protect yourself and your financial information. 

Let’s get started!

What this article covers:

Why Do Background Check Companies Ask for Pay Stubs?

There are a number of reasons why background check companies will ask to see your pay stubs.

To Verify Past Employment And Income

When it comes to assessing a candidate’s suitability for a position, one crucial aspect is their work history and financial stability. 

Background check companies may request W2 forms or an employee pay stub like ours at Check Stub Maker to verify past work experience and income. 

Our investigation demonstrated that this verification serves multiple purposes:

  • Accuracy Of Resumé: Cross-referencing the information provided by the candidate on their resumé with their actual earnings history ensures that they’ve been truthful about their work experience and salary.
  • Income Consistency: Consistency in income can be an indicator of a candidate’s financial stability and reliability. Employers may also want to confirm that the candidate’s earnings align with the responsibilities of the new role.
  • Income Verification: Some positions, especially concerning finance or handling sensitive financial information, require a thorough examination of a candidate’s income to gauge their financial prowess and trustworthiness.

For example, if a candidate claims to have held a senior management position with a substantial income in their previous job, providing their W2 or check stub view can validate these claims and instill confidence in their application.

To Check For Potential Red Flags

Another reason why background check companies request pay stubs or W2 forms is to identify potential red flags in a candidate’s history. 

By analyzing income and employment history using a pay stub employment verification process, they can uncover inconsistencies that may raise concerns for employers, such as:

  • Unexplained Gaps: Significant gaps in employment history without corresponding pay stubs or income records may prompt further investigation. While career transitions are common, unexplained periods of unemployment may warrant closer scrutiny from potential employers.
  • Income Discrepancies: Discrepancies between a candidate’s claimed salary and their documented earnings can signal potential deception or misrepresentation. Identifying such discrepancies helps employers make informed decisions about new hires.
  • Inconsistent Employment: Frequent job changes or a history of short-term employment without a clear progression may raise questions about a candidate’s commitment and suitability for a long-term role.

By examining these red flags, background check companies assist employers in evaluating the overall trustworthiness and reliability of job applicants.

background check company asked for w2 or paystubs going back to 7 years

To Confirm Consistent Employment History

In some industries, maintaining a consistent employment history is paramount. 

Employers in fields such as finance, healthcare, or government positions may require additional assurance that a candidate’s work history aligns with their resumé. Knowing how to find electronic pay stubs and W2 forms can offer necessary validation.

For instance, a healthcare institution might be more inclined to hire a candidate for a nursing role if their pay stubs demonstrate a consistent history of employment as a registered nurse. This need for employment clarity clearly aligns with the qualifications stated on their resumé. 

Drawing from our experience here at Check Stub Maker, having detailed information on your paystubs aids a background check. Together, they can add extra transparency in the hiring process.

Are Background Check Companies Allowed to Require Pay Stubs?

Inquiries for pay stubs by background check companies are generally permissible within the bounds of the law even though they may seem intrusive. 

However, there are guidelines and regulations that govern the collection and use of this information.

Fair Credit Reporting Act Guidelines

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that outlines the rules for background checks, including the collection of financial information like pay stubs and W2 forms. 

background check company asked for w2 or pay stubs going back to 7 years

Under FCRA, background check companies must adhere to specific guidelines, such as:

  • Candidate Consent: Before obtaining a candidate’s financial information, they must first obtain their written consent. Candidates have the right to refuse the request without jeopardizing their job application.
  • Use For Employment Purposes: The information collected, including pay stubs and W2 forms, can only be used for employment-related purposes. Based on our first-hand experience, employers can’t use this information for any other reason without the candidate’s consent.
  • Notification Of Adverse Action: If an employer decides not to hire a candidate based on information from their background check, they’re required to provide the candidate with a pre-adverse action notice. This notice informs the candidate of their right to dispute the findings and take corrective action.
  • Disclosure Of Rights: Background check companies must inform candidates of their rights under FCRA and provide them with a copy of the report if requested.

At Check Stub Maker, we can help you share or protect the privacy of your pay stubs with our trusted paystub maker.  

State Laws May Provide Additional Protections

In addition to federal regulations, some states have their own laws governing background checks and the use of pay stubs or W2 forms. These state laws may impose additional requirements or restrictions on background check companies.

Employers and background check companies must be aware of both federal and state regulations to ensure compliance and protect candidates’ rights.

do i have to provide my potential employer with a past job's w-2s and pay stubs
San Diego, California, USA – October 13, 2011: A close up of a Visa credit card and a Mastercard credit card, the two largest credit card companies in the world, on a random stack of bills and invoices. Shot in a studio setting.

What If You Don’t Want to Provide Pay Stubs?

While you can assert your privacy and choose not to disclose this information, it’s essential to be aware that refusal on your part may have consequences.

Withdrawal Of Employment Offer

If you decline to provide pay stubs, it may raise suspicions or concerns with potential employers. They may interpret your refusal as a lack of transparency or a signal that you have something to hide. 

In some cases, our research indicates that employers may choose to withdraw their job offer based on your refusal to provide requested documentation.

Incomplete Verification

Without access to pay stubs or alternative documentation, the background check company may find it challenging to verify your past employment and income accurately. 

Through our practical knowledge as a pay stub creator, incomplete verifications may cause delays in the hiring process or even result in an unfavorable outcome for your job application.

Offer Alternatives to Pay Stubs

If you’re uncomfortable sharing your pay stubs but still want to provide evidence of your employment history and income, consider offering alternatives such as W-2 forms or tax returns. 

Through our trial and error, we discovered that these documents can serve as reliable substitutes that can help maintain your privacy while satisfying the employer’s requirements.

is it normal for pre hiring process to ask for w-2 and pay stub

W-2 Forms

This tax form is typically issued by employers at the end of each tax year, which provides a summary of your earnings and tax withholdings. 

When you get all pay stubs and w2s and share them with a background check company, it can demonstrate your income and employment history without revealing the detailed information found on pay stubs.

Tax Returns

Your tax returns, especially the most recent ones, can offer a comprehensive overview of your financial situation. 

While they don’t provide as granular data as the pay stubs we make at Check Stub Maker, they do show your reported income over time and can serve as a credible source of verification.

By presenting these alternative documents, you can strike a balance between protecting your privacy and satisfying the potential new employer’s need for verification of your employment history.

Be Transparent About Any Employment Gaps

If you’re concerned about the impact of employment gaps on your background check, consider addressing them proactively. 

Being upfront and transparent about periods of unemployment or career transitions can help mitigate any negative perceptions.

When discussing employment gaps, be sure to:

  • Provide Explanations: Offer brief, honest explanations for any gaps in your employment history. Whether it was personal reasons, pursuing further education, or searching for the right opportunity, sharing your motivations can add context to your background.
  • Highlight Relevant Experience: Emphasize any freelance work, volunteering, or part-time positions you may have undertaken during such gaps. This can showcase your commitment to staying engaged and relevant in your field.
  • Demonstrate Growth: If you pursued additional certifications or acquired new skills during your time away from full-time employment, highlight these achievements. It demonstrates your commitment to personal and professional development.
are new employer background checks allowed to ask for pay stubs and w2 forms

Tips for Handling Pay Stub Requests During Background Checks

Navigating the process of providing pay stubs or alternatives during a background check can be a delicate task. 

In order to handle these requests effectively and protect your interests, we at Check Stub Maker are sharing the following tips with you:

Review The Information Being Requested

Before providing any documents, carefully review what information is being requested by the background check company or employer. 

Ensure that you’re only sharing the necessary information and withholding any sensitive details that are not relevant to the verification process.

Remove Sensitive Details Like SSNs

Based on our observations, pay stubs often contain sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers (SSNs) and bank account details. 

Even though you’ll inevitably add SSNs to our paystubs at Check Stub Maker, you can redact or obscure this sensitive information and others like it to safeguard your privacy during a background check.

Request A Copy Of Your Background Check Report

You have the right to request a copy of your background check report from the background check company. 

Review the report for accuracy and completeness. If you find any errors or discrepancies, promptly report them to the company and seek corrections.

At Check Stub Maker, we firmly believe in helping you get clarity on all your financial information and how it’s distributed. 

can i share w2 when paystubs is asked for


The request for looking up pay stub or alternative documentation during a background check is a common practice to verify a candidate’s past employment and income history. 

While you have the right to refuse such requests, it’s essential to consider the potential consequences and alternative solutions to maintain a positive impression during the hiring process.

At Check Stub Maker, we believe in safeguarding your privacy while assisting employers in making informed hiring decisions.

Our user-friendly pay stub creator helps you generate professional pay stubs that are pertinent for W-2 forms and other tax-related documents so can you meet verification requirements while protecting your sensitive information.

So, what are you waiting for? Try our services today and experience the convenience and security that we at Check Stub Maker have to offer!

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