I have been part of a Software Company for the past 3.5 years. We are a small company of 5 employees (3 perm, 2 contract). There's no HR dept and Director is responsible HR/Payroll, accounting etc.

I am also one of the co-founders. I have decided to move on.

I got an unconditional job offer pending background check clearance.

They use a 3rd party provider who emailed me for additional info (T4-slips) for past 3 years. I am told as I am a co-founder, they would not accept my Director's number to verify my employment (strange!).

Btw, T4 slips are issued by every company at end of year in Canada and they show net yearly income.

My salary on T4 is significantly lower on my first 2 years as I opted to take out dividends end of year (which helped to sustain our business and also has tax benefits). Thus, I want to avoid showing my T4.

I am also unsure how can someone verify "length of employment" from T4. T4-slips only shows yearly-income. Are they going to estimate my employment length based on income?

Any advice how to tackle this case?


An employer can ask for T4 slips for cases of self-employment. For all other cases, you are not obliged to give T4. It is their responsibility to verify employment.

  • Absolutely no idea. Try asking to speak to a manager (someone who would, presumably, have something resembling a clue) at this third-party company, tell them your situation, and ask what they would advise. If you want additional ammunition, check with a federal labor lawyer as to what constitutes additional methods to verify length of employment - and educate this third-party background check provider. ps - edited your question to add the "Canada" tag. – user22432 Aug 10 '14 at 2:33
  • Is it normal for a recruiter to ask for your personal tax records in Canada? – Pepone Aug 10 '14 at 21:42
  • Absolutely not. This is the first time someone asked me for T4 (tax-slip). – Rashed Aug 11 '14 at 2:04

Ask the background check company if it would be acceptable to give them copies of the T4 forms with the income numbers blacked out. Or ask for written assurance that your income information will not be shared with the hiring company. If they're just using them to confirm employment, both should be acceptable to them.

The T4 doesn't give them an exact length of employment, but does confirm that you were working for the company in each of the relevant calendar years.

  • Good point. Let me email them about sending T4 (with salary blanked out). – Rashed Aug 10 '14 at 3:24
  • @Rashed were you able to resolve this to your satisfaction? – PurpleVermont Aug 11 '14 at 22:01
  • I am going to accept your answer, though it didn't resolve it :). From my search, usually for self-employment, an employer can ask for T4-slips, as there's no 3rd party who can verify the employment. For other cases, you are not obliged to give T4 slips. It is their responsibility to verify it (by calling or other means). Altered T4-slips might have potential legal issues. Though, chances are nothing will happen. – Rashed Aug 13 '14 at 11:24
  • Interesting - what kind of potential legal issues "might" arise? – PurpleVermont Aug 13 '14 at 18:35

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