Is it legal as a condition of a new hire background check, to request tax returns if previous employment has been already been verified?

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Is it legal as a condition of a new hire background check, to request tax returns if previous employment has been already been verified?

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Asked on August 5, 2011 Maine

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is completely legal. You, of course, do not need to provide them, if you don't want--and if you are willing to risk not being hired. Remember: employers do not have to hire anyone; it is completely voluntary for them to create jobs and positions and hire people. Since it is completely voluntary, they may put pretty much any condition that is not specifically illegal on hiring. And revealing your tax returns to another is NOT illegal--it may not be something commonly done, or which you would like to do, but you may show your tax return to anyone you choose (e.g. when applying for a mortgage, you probably have to show it). So they can ask, and you can decide whether you are willing to or not, which probably depends on how much you want this job. All that said, if you don't trust them--if you think they may misuse the information--then you clearly should think carefully about providing it and probably rethink the entire job.


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