Based upon a sample survey, the QFR presents estimated statements of income and retained earnings, balance sheets,
and related financial and operating ratios.
Legal Authority and Confidentiality
The QFR program is conducted under the authority of
of the United States Code, Section 91,
which requires that financial statistics of business operations be collected and published quarterly.
The law imposes a joint obligation on corporations to respond and on the U.S. Census Bureau to maintain the
confidentiality of information reported.
The law also specifies penalties for noncompliance and for disclosure by the U.S. Census Bureau.
No data are published that could reveal the identity or activities of any specific corporation.
Individual QFR questionnaires cannot be used for the purposes of taxation, investigation, or regulation.
The law also affords this full protection of confidentiality to the file copy of a Census questionnaire that is retained by the respondent.
The QFR survey is conducted quarterly.
Corporations report for each of their fiscal quarters, and are included in published calendar quarter estimates depending
on the month their books are closed.
QFR data are released for the calendar quarter approximately 75 days after the end of the first, second, and third calendar quarters,
and approximately 90 days after the end of the fourth calendar quarter.
The extended fourth quarter is to accommodate annual reporting obligations and include holiday sales.
The following table displays the four reporting quarters by industry sector in terms of the month in which any
selected corporation's fiscal quarter ends:
Manufacturing, Mining, Wholesale Trade, and Selected Service Industries
January, February, or March
February, March, or April
April, May, or June
May, June, or July
July, August, or September
August, September, or October
October, November, or December
November, December, or January
QFR utilizes a mail-out/mail-back survey.
Approximately 4,600 large corporations in manufacturing, mining, trade, and selected service industries are mailed a long form.
Approximately 5,000 selected small- and medium-sized manufacturing corporations are mailed a short form.
The sample frame of firms is updated annually from Federal income tax records.
Using the tax data, corporations are selected by stratified random sample, with strata by industry and asset size.
Data for manufacturing corporations with assets between $250,000 and $250 million are estimated from a sample panel.
Each quarter, one-eighth of the sample panel is replaced. Corporations selected in the sample report for 8 quarters.
A press release is issued concurrent with each QFR data release, summarizing the results contained within the publication.
Press releases are issued in both PDF and Excel formats, and are available on this web site in
Each QFR publication includes information on the most recently closed quarters for manufacturing, mining, wholesale trade,
and selected service industries, and the prior quarters for retail trade.
Information on the most recently closed quarters for retail trade are available in the quarterly press releases,
and in the fourth quarter QFR publication, where the 90-day schedule permits synchronized presentation.
Publications are issued in both PDF and Excel formats, and are available on this web site in
Historical QFR data are available in Excel format on this web site in
Uses of the Data
The QFR data are a primary source for current estimates of corporate profits for the Nation's Gross Domestic Income Accounts.
QFR data are widely used by government agencies, domestic and foreign businesses, financial analysts, researchers, trade associations,
and banking institutions.
Uses include assessing industrial debt structure, liquidity, and profitability; estimating corporate tax liability;
designing economic policies and drafting legislation; making investment evaluations; and studying economic trends.