On another board I was told that the US government is able to (or does) give it's citizen's start and end dates of previous employment to employers, based off your taxes. Is this true? If so, can you provide some sort of reference to back this up? If the US government does this, wouldn't it be an invasion of privacy?

  • Does this job involve a security clearance, and if so what level? If you need a certain high level clearance then yes you authorize them to use any and all information in their possession to verify or rebuke your assertions about your trustworthiness. It is also not against the law for an employer to claim that it will do that sort of check even though it may not actually perform it so long as they are not legally required to provide you with a clearance of that level. Aug 16, 2016 at 19:08
  • @Chad They fact check what you provide them to determine if you lied. Basically if you worked a certain date range, it's best to fully disclose that. I see no reason why someone would lie in such a case and I'd imagine it would be a huge red flag if someone lies about something as simple as when they were employed.
    – Dan
    Aug 16, 2016 at 19:12
  • None of the jobs I apply to require any sort of security clearance that I know of. The person put it out there as a blanket statement. I thought maybe my employment records were available through a FOIA request, or some other unknown means to the general public. Aug 16, 2016 at 19:14
  • @Dan not that I do, but I've known people to get their friends to vouch for them to say they were working at XYZ company, and a simple reference check can't naysay them on that issue, particularly if it's a cellphone number or a small employer Aug 16, 2016 at 19:16
  • @Dan - It depends on the clearance. Basic clearance yes thats all they do. If you are working with some government and defense contractors the vetting is much more thorough. Aug 16, 2016 at 19:30

2 Answers 2


No, that's patently false.

From tax history project:

Individual income tax returns — including those of public figures — are private information, protected by law from unauthorized disclosure. Indeed, the Internal Revenue Service is barred from releasing any taxpayer information whatsoever, except to authorized agencies and individuals.

  • Would said information include start and end dates of employment? Aug 16, 2016 at 18:02
  • 1
    That's information, so it's private.
    – jimm101
    Aug 16, 2016 at 18:03
  • 2
    While they can't disclose it to outside agencies, they can disclose it to authorized agencies such as programs that offer benefits. While you might get away with it for years upon years, the government eventually picks up on it and will come after you. As a unrelated example, I bought a car in December, and never got a bill to pay the tax for the remaining one month but did get the new year's bill. About 2 years later, I get a bill asking to pay the remaining one month's tax from when I first bought it. So yes, the system picks up. Best not to try and game it as it will backfire on you.
    – Dan
    Aug 16, 2016 at 18:15
  • @Dan That's all unrelated to the question at hand. The government does not release any information on tax records to employers. The government can and will use its own records to tax you--those are tax records being used to check your tax compliance. That's what those records are for.
    – jimm101
    Aug 16, 2016 at 18:23
  • @jimm101 Got it. I thought he was asking in regards to benefits he got. After re-reading his question I see he's asking if the government releases that information to employers and that is indeed untrue. Now, some non-government background checks may in fact reveal this but only because they called the actual employer, not from the government.
    – Dan
    Aug 16, 2016 at 18:31

Social security is built upon points, so the government does keep track of how much you worked in your life but it is all based upon what your employer reports.

The government only tracks things for three reasons: taxes, fines, or removal. At the end of the year your employer reports to the government (IRS) how much you made and how much taxes taken out, etc. They give you, the employee, a W-2 that you then report to the IRS. The IRS then matches what you report vs what was reported to them, and if all is good, then it's good to go. Otherwise you pay a hefty fine and since the government knows where you work, since the employer reports it, they'll come after you or your bank accounts. One way or another, you're going to pay them what you owe.

While they can't directly figure out start/end dates, they can determine it via when your last employer stopped reporting vs when a new one started. So they could build upon that but I see no reason they would want to do this. Unless you're receiving benefits from the government, I see no reason why they would want to track this.

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