July 12, 2012

New changes in the method of informing businesses about requirements for submitting Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) surveys will increase the efficiency of the process and reduce paperwork for both survey respondents and BEA. The new procedures involve the collection of data through BEA’s surveys of direct investment and international trade in services.

In the past, each time BEA made a change to the reporting requirements for a survey, it was also required to change the federal regulations regarding that survey. This required public notification and a period to receive comments—known as a rulemaking—before the change could go into effect. For instance, a rulemaking was required to change the reporting threshold of a survey or to add or delete certain items from the survey. Under the new procedures, BEA will directly notify survey respondents about any future changes to reporting requirements, streamlining what at times had been a cumbersome process.

For its mandatory annual and quarterly surveys, BEA will publish a notice with specific reporting requirements—including who is required to respond to the survey, the manner of reporting, identification of applicable report forms, and the time and place of filing reports—in the Federal Register. We will also directly notify survey respondents by mail that they are required to file.

BEA published its plans to make this change in the Federal Register and gave the public a chance to comment on it. The final rule establishing this new procedure can be found here.

The new rule is NOT retroactive. It does not apply to any surveys that were approved before the rule establishing the new procedure was finalized. Direct investment and international trade in services surveys that BEA is currently conducting—the 2011 BE–11, 2011 BE–15, 2012 BE–12, 2012 BE–29, 2012 BE–120, and all 2012 quarterly surveys—will continue to operate under the regulations established under the most recent relevant rulemaking action prior to April 24, 2012.