What counts as proof of income for a car loan?

I want to get a car loan but the lender told me I need a bunch of documents to proceed. One of them was proof of income. How do I show proof of income?

Eric Schad · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Proof of income is one of the many documents you need to successfully qualify for a
car loan
The requirements will vary depending on your lender, but generally, you have several options for proof of income, including:
  • Pay stubs
  • W-2s
  • Tax returns
  • 1099s
  • Bank statements
Traditional employees: Lenders usually ask for your W-2 and pay stubs from the last 30 to 60 days, although it’s always wise to be prepared with more.
Freelancer, independent contractor, or self-employed individuals: The car loan process is a bit more involved as your income may fluctuate. Prepare yourself for this situation by having proof of up to a year or so of income with your tax return and/or 1099. You may even want to put together a profit-loss statement to more adequately represent your finances.
Retired individuals: You may have to show your tax return, Social Security statement, and/or 1099-R form.
Unemployed individuals: Car loan applications will be more difficult and you may need to cosign to be approved. If you’re applying by yourself, you’ll need to provide proof of your unemployment payments and/or any other sources of income.
View full answer 
Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

Join 4M+ members in lowering their car insurance

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings