This year, the holiday season is also the census season for businesses.
More than 4 millionU.S. businesses, including about 9,700 in the Colorado Springs area, will receive economic census forms in December.
The economic census is taken every five years and provides key source data for the gross domestic product and other indicators of economic performance.
Census forms are sent to all but the smallest businesses in every industry and geographic area of the country. Most businesses with five or more paid employees, and a sample of smaller ones, will receive a census form.
Companies are asked to report information such as employment, payroll and the value of goods and services sold. Questions about franchising, outsourcing and health and pension benefit expenses were added to selected forms this year. The answers, the U.S. Census Bureau assures, are kept confidential. Only aggregate industry data are published.
Forms must be returned to the Census Bureau by Feb. 12. Companies that toss the census form or squirrel it away in a drawer and forget it could be in trouble. The law provides for penalties of up to $5,000 for failure to report and $10,000 for intentionally providing false information.
For more information, go to www.census.gov/econ/census07.