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census form 2010The U.S. Census Bureau sends out surveys to different businesses each year. And just as sure as the sun rises in the east, we will hear from one of our small-business clients, questioning whether they need to take the time to complete the survey.

Unfortunately, or fortunately for the purposes of compiling good business metrics by the Federal Government, businesses are required to complete these surveys.  Failure to do so can result in substantial fines, though the good news is there is no imprisonment. Specifically, federal statute provides the following:

“Whoever, being the owner, official, agent, person in charge, or assistant to the person in charge, of any company, business, institution, establishment, religious body, or organization of any nature whatsoever, neglects or refuses, when requested by the Secretary or other authorized officer or employee of the Department of Commerce or bureau or agency thereof, to answer completely and correctly to the best of his knowledge all questions relating to his company, business, institution, establishment, religious body, or other organization, or to records or statistics in his official custody, contained on any census or other schedule or questionnaire prepared and submitted to him under the authority of this title, shall be fined not more than $500; and if he willfully gives a false answer to any such question, he shall be fined not more than $10,000” (emphasis added). See Title 13, US Code Section 224.

So now you know. Fill out those Census Surveys or you might be facing quite a hefty penalty.