I have a question specifically about present perfect usage in legal and “bureaucratic” writing. On official forms (for example, application forms from US government agencies or IRS forms), I sometimes see questions worded using present perfect, for example:
- (1) "Since establishing Hawaii residence, have you received a job offer from a foreign government?"
- (2) "Has your employer closed permanently or temporarily due to the COVID-19 emergency?"
- (3) "Have you become a full or part-time student since leaving the Armed Forces?"
In each of these cases, would the correct answer still be "yes" if the present perfect action happened but the situation had already concluded? For example:
- For (1), you were offered a job by a foreign government after establishing Hawaii residence, but you already declined it.
- For (2), your employer closed temporarily at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has since reopened.
- For (3), you were a part-time student for one quarter after leaving the Armed Forces twenty years ago, but are not a student any more.
I understand that present perfect is used for past actions that are either continuing in the present or relevant to the present, while the simple past is used when the action was completed and has no ongoing relevance. This does not answer my question, though, because even if the action has no ongoing relevance to the answerer, it could easily still have relevance to the agency who is asking for it. Should these questions be answered with “yes” or “no”, and why?