Sample US Pay Stub and Various Tax Deductions

When you get a legal job in US, you will receive pay check. When you get paid, you will receive a  pay stub.

A pay stub, is a document that lists the gross income and all taxes and any other deductions such as retirement plan contributions, insurances, garnishments, or charitable contributions taken out of the gross pay. It will list your final net pay that will be sent to you( direct deposit or check).

We will look at sample pay stub and go over various taxes that are deducted from your gross salary and voluntary deductions. Pay stub is also referred as Pay statement, pay check stub, payroll statement.

Sample Pay Stub

adp pay stub sample
If you are working in USA (H1B, OPT, CPT, L1 or L2 Visa, part time jobs) you will have to pay taxes as per US tax laws.

Following image is a sample pay stub from ADP (payroll provider). Click on the pay stub/tax image to expand.

Payroll Tax Deductions

Following taxes have to be withheld from an employee’s paycheck. This is mandatory and required by law. Usually, employers will hire third party companies like ADP to handle payroll processing.  Payroll tax deductions include the following

  • Federal income tax withholding
  • FICA Taxes
    • Social Security tax withholding
    • Medicare tax withholding
  • State income tax withholding
  • Other taxes (city, county, etc)

Social Security Tax equates to 6.2% and Medicare taxes is 1.45%

Voluntary Payroll Deductions

Voluntary payroll deductions (listed as Others in above sample) are withheld from  paycheck only if the employee has agreed to certain deductions. Voluntary payroll deductions include the following:

  • Health insurance (medical, dental, and eyecare)
  • Life insurance
  • 401k
  • Employee stock purchase plans (ESPP )
  • Others

Voluntary deductions can be from pre-tax dollars or after-tax from Gross.

Tax Savings

  • If you live and work in states like Texas, Florida, Alaska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Washington doesn’t have State Income tax. Which means Any State Income tax deduction (43.68) will not deducted, which will be additional savings for you.
  • If you live in New York City, then you will pay, high federal tax, state tax and then city taxes. Which will lower your income, but usually taxes are compensated by higher salary. Higher salary doesn’t always mean more savings. You have take cost of living into account.
  • If you are in OPT, CPT you are not required to pay Social Security and Medicare Taxes (FICA Taxes)

Hope this article gave an overview about pay stub and if you have questions about taxes, 401k or other deductions, leave a comment.

I’m not a tax expert, but I will try to respond to your questions, if I know the answer. 2 things are certain in life – Taxes and Death.


Students in F1 Visa and working using CPT or OPT are not required to pat FICA taxes. That’s 6.2% (Social Security) + Medicare taxes is 1.45% in savings.

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  1. I am working as a part time on CPT in New York. There’s any way I can know the percentage I should be paying?


  2. Hi,

    I am currently on my CPT and have just started working in the United States. I have a question regarding the federal tax % rate to be deducted from payroll while on F-1 visa status( located in Tennessee, no state income tax). I tried the online resources of the IRS, but couldn’t figure it out. My employers are deducting flat 30% from my pay and they are also unfamiliar with the process, so any help you could provide would be most appreciated.

    1. You can control the deductions using W4 Form. Higher number – Lower Deductions. So, do the math and submit it to your employer’s payroll processor.

  3. I would like to know what type of taxes my employer has to pay especially payroll tax. I am an opt student working full-time. Do my employer have to pay state unemployment tax or city related tax?

  4. Being an F1 visa student, during CPT if I work in any other states where the State Tax is present, will I be able to get the taxes back that are deducted from my Pay check biweekly. If so, can we do that online and do we get the entire tax amount back.

  5. HI,

    I would like to know if there is any tax that employer will need to pay (called as Employer Tax), that will not be shown on the pay stub for OPT status.

    1. Yes, the employer owes taxes, but that will not be displayed on the pay stub. Why do you ask this?

  6. As i read the whole article, there are great points that will help the students and normal tax payers and i agree with the statement that in new york city, taxes are very high and if we have high income then that will helps us to save money.But paying taxes in new york is worthy , after all we get all the services in the city.

  7. Hi My name is Sachin .. I have question .. I stared my job on May 15 2014 on CPT visa But for the 1st month my payroll is not processed by my employer. *** is there any possibility if Can my Employer process the payroll lately for that month***
    If the payroll is not processed from that start date will that effect me in any way in my future endorsements
    Please Reply

    1. When you are hired, your employer should have provided you with the terms of your employment in the offer letter or, at least, verbally. Included should be the pay frequency and paydays. Pay frequency can be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly and never more than monthly. The most common are bi-weekly (every other Friday, for example) and semi-monthly (on specified paydays twice a month). An employer can “hold back” 1 – 2 weeks, which is to say they don’t pay in real time but a week or 2 after the fact. That delay only means they need time to process your check and must always eventually pay you for all time worked. You should speak with your employer or Human Resources Department to find out when paydays are. Since it appears to have been over a month, something is not right. You should have been paid, but WHEN you are paid is determined by their pay frequency and paydays. Also find out if checks are given to you, mailed, or deposited directly to your bank. If mailed, it could have been lost in the mail. If you are not paid per your company’s policy and per the law of the state you live in, your state labor commissioner office in the city nearest you should be contacted. There are penalties to the employer for not paying employees on time, but first, find out when that is.

  8. Hi,

    I am on OPT and for the temporary position I had in the fall no federal tax was withheld but I got charged for Medicare and social security. So I understand I do owe federal tax but can I get social security and medicare back.


  9. I am offered a contract job and the pay is on per hour basis. So if I don't work for a month I do not get paid. But somewhere I read regardless of whether you work or not the employer needs to pay you the salary. So if I don't work for a month and the employer doesn't pay then can I file a legal case against him?

    Also what is the difference between W-2, 1099, corp2corp, etc ? Which one is best?

    And if I am on W-2 then the employer has to give paid leaves? Is it mandatory?

    1. you will put a case on your employer for not working for a month but demanding to be paid even thou u r on a per hour basis ! wow man I wish u get fired asap…people like you don’t deserve to exist and should be fired and thrown out of work asap

  10. Hi,

    The post is of great use. I appreciate your work on this. I have a query regarding payroll charges for a H1B holder. Do you have any idea on the monthly payroll that should be paid if a H1B holder is free without holding a job. Also, is it allowed to stay in US without job for few months and without paying any payroll. Please clarify.



  11. Hi HSB,

    It was a very useful post. This helps us alot in understanding the tax plan in US. Keep up the good work.

  12. Hello,
    I have offered a job in Ny, for 45000/annuam. Heard it is little less . How much i need to spend as taxes and all. Please guide me.

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