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Annual Capital Expenditures Survey

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


1. Am I required to complete this survey?

Title 13 of the United States Code requires you to answer this survey, and it also requires us to keep your responses confidential. The data you supply are used solely for developing summary statistics. Further, copies retained in your files are immune from legal process.


2. Why did I receive this survey?

This survey is sent to a sample of non-farm companies, organizations, and associations operating within the United States. Normally, large companies will be selected in the sample every year. In order to develop statistically reliable estimates representing the U.S. economy, it is important that you respond to this survey.


3. When is this survey due?

The Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES) is mailed out each year during the month of March, and responses are due within 30 days. If you cannot complete the survey by the due date, you may request an extension of time by using the Self-Service option on the Business Help Site or by contacting the Department of Commerce at 1-800-528-3049.


4. Where can I get additional information, or if I have questions, whom do I call?

If you are having problems completing this survey please refer to the instructions for assistance. If the instructions do not resolve your problem, please contact the Department of Commerce at 1-800-227-1735.


5. Why is this information collected?

The purpose of this survey is to collect comprehensive and timely information about the nature and level of capital expenditures in the United States. The level of capital expenditures is an important component in the overall assessment of our nationís productivity. The information you provide will be used to prepare national measures of capital spending and to formulate fiscal and monetary policy.


6. Are the FAQs a substitution for the ACES instructions?

No. The instructions contain many points to assist in correctly completing the ACES survey. This FAQ section is to be used as a reference to assist you in completing the survey.


7. What are capital expenditures?

Capital expenditures include all expenditures during the year for both new and used structures (excluding land) and equipment chargeable to asset accounts for which depreciation amortization accounts are ordinarily maintained.


8. What if I have no capital expenditures for the respective survey year?

Fill out the survey, inserting zeros for the items requesting capital expenditure information. In the Remarks section give a brief explanation of why you are reporting zero capital expenditures.


9. How do you explain mergers and acquisitions?

Such events occurring during the period covered by this report require special attention. If your enterprise merged with or acquired another domestic enterprise during the period, include the domestic capital expenditures made by the merged or acquired enterprise since the date of acquisition; the cost to your enterprise for structures and equipment previously owned by the acquired enterprise at the time of the merger or acquisition should be reported as expenditures, only if treated as capital expenditures by your enterprise. Please furnish the date of the acquisition or merger and the name of the acquired enterprise in the Remarks section. If your enterprise was acquired by another enterprise during the period covered by this report, please furnish the acquisition date and the name and address of the acquiring enterprise in the Ownership Information section, and complete the survey for the period of time during the survey year the enterprise was in operation prior to the acquisition.


10. What is the survey scope?

This survey collects capital expenditures data for nonfarm companies, (including nonemployer companies, organizations, and associations operating within the United States). Information for agricultural production operations should be excluded. However, companies performing agricultural services are included. Information for churches, nonprofit organizations, and organizations that are government owned but privately operated should be included.


11. Should capital expenditures for foreign locations be included on the ACES survey?

No. This survey only tracks capital expenditures in the United States.


12. What should I report if the company's accounting system does not provide the data that you are requesting?

The data requested on this report survey may not correspond to your company's accounting records. If you cannot answer a question from your company records, please provide carefully prepared estimates.


13. How are capital leases treated in this survey?

If your company leased new structures and/or equipment and the lease is capitalized by your company, report the cost or present value of the structures and equipment acquired in the survey year. Capital leases presume a sale and purchase of an asset, and are defined by the criteria in the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Number 13.


14. How do I report capitalized computer software?

Report capital expenditures for computer software developed or obtained for internal use during the year. Capitalized computer software expenditures should consist of the cost of materials and services directly related to the development or acquisition of software; payroll and payroll related costs for employees directly associated with software development; and interest costs incurred while developing the software. Capitalized computer software is defined by the criteria in Statement of Postition 98-1, Accounting for the Costs of Computer Software Developed or Obtained for Internal Use, issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.


15. How should I treat inventory for the purposes of this survey?

Purchases made exclusively for re-sale should be excluded from the survey.


16. Besides reporting on the Internet, are there any other ways to report?

Yes, you also have the option of completing a printed form. If you want a paper copy of your survey, please log in with the User ID and Password printed on the letter you received and click view/print form as PDF.

Please Note: The easiest method is to report using the Internet.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Annual Capital Expenditures | (301) 763-3324 |  Last Revised: March 26, 2014