Every year I am required by law to fill out what is called the "Accommodation Report" by the Census Bureau. As a lodging company (we run campgrounds) I must reveal my revenues and some of my expenses. They ask for numbers aggregated differently from how we collect them for GAAP, so it is not a simple exercise. But I do it under protest, even though several of my competitors do not seem to be similarly punished with this requirement.
Well, I don't actually fully comply. We run over 150 small locations, and technically I am supposed to fill out an 8-page accommodation survey for every one of them. This would take a week of my time. So I pretend I have only one campground and report my summary revenue numbers for all our campgrounds as if they were for one location. Also, a year ago the Census folks began demanding the data quarterly, and I told them to pound sand, that I was on the verge of not doing the annual report and so I definitely was not going to do all that work quarterly.
Well, this year it got worse. For some reason, the survey this year had 3 extra pages asking me to break down my expenses in detail, in many categories that do not match those that I use in my bookkeeping. Here is an example page:
First, not only do I not have time to figure this out (who tracks software purchases as its own item in the accounting system?), but it is not the government's business, particularly given that I am a private company. Even the IRS is not this intrusive.
Further, at best the data I report will be used for nothing. More likely, it will be used to justify new taxes on me, new regulations on me, or new subsidies for my competitors. I have no desire to aid any of these activities.
Postscript: And you know what I have zero patience with? -- otherwise free market academic economists who support this kind of data gathering because it is critical. Yes, I am sure they much prefer to get free statistics for their work gathered via government coercion rather than have to pay for it, as one would have to do if we relied on private companies to gather this data rather than the government. There is absolutely no difference between an economist supporting government statistics gathering and any other company or individual asking that the government subsidize their inputs. But, but, we are critical to the country! Yeah, the sugar industry says the same thing.