Part of wise financial planning is knowing how much money you make. Identifying the precise amount of gross earnings as well as what you actually take home following deductions will allow you to predict the amount of cash flow you will have on an ongoing basis. With that knowledge you can create an effective budget that includes a savings plan you can stick to, so that you can stash money for family vacations, renovations or a new car.
Last Year's Tax Information
Request last year's tax information from the Internal Revenue Service. You can get either a tax return transcript, which will show your tax information as it was filed, or your tax account transcript, which will include any adjustments you or the IRS made after filing. Your gross income for the year will appear on both documents. You can contact the IRS by calling 1-800-908-9946 or order the document online at IRS.gov. You will have to provide your name and Social Security number to request a transcript.
Contact the party who prepared your tax return for last year. If you hired an accountant or tax preparation company to complete and file your tax return, contact them to request your income information. They will be able to provide a copy of your return and answer any questions about how your total gross income was tallied; for example, if you had both employer-generated income as well as self-employment earnings that were added together.
Review your own copy of last year's tax return. Identify the amount you reported as your gross income. This will correspond with the amount of money you made last year before any tax adjustments.
Last Year's Final Pay Stub
Contact the payroll manager at your place of employment to secure your final pay stub for last year. This final pay stub will include cumulative, year-to-date earnings. If your first pay stub of the new year included earnings from the previous year, for example if the pay was for one week in December and one week in January, divide the January pay stub accordingly and add the December income to last year's cumulative pay.
Access your company's online employee information system to see your final pay stub. The method of accessing the information will vary according to your company. Contact your company's HR representative to help you with the specifics of your company's system.
Retrieve your last pay stub from your own paper records. If you keep your pay stubs as part of your personal filing system, find the last stub you had from last year and identify your year-to-date earnings. Confirm that this figure is comprehensive and includes all earnings for the year and none of your income from last year was actually paid out in January. If that is the case, add your year-to-date total with the amount of last year's income included on your first pay stub of the new year.
Catherine Lovering has written about business, tax, careers and pets since 2006. Lovering holds a B.A. (political science), LL.B. (law) and LL.L. (civil law).