IRS Tax Tip 2019-152, October 30, 2019

Businesses providing goods and services that are subject to excise tax must file a Form 720 quarterly to report the tax to the IRS.

What is excise tax?

Excise taxes are charged on a wide variety of goods, services and activities. The tax may be imposed at the time of:

  • Import
  • Sale by the manufacturer
  • Sale by the retailer
  • Use by the consumer

Many excise taxes go into trust funds earmarked for related capital projects, such as highway and airport improvements. Excise taxes are independent of income taxes. People pay excise taxes on things like gasoline, indoor tanning, airline tickets and tires.

Since the excise cost is usually included in the price, the seller or manufacturer is responsible for sending these tax payments to the IRS and filing Form 720.

When to file?

Businesses must file the form for each quarter of the calendar year. Here are the due dates:

  • Quarter 1 – January, February, March: Deadline = April 30
  • Quarter 2 – April, May, June: Deadline = July 31
  • Quarter 3 – July, August, September: Deadline = October 31
  • Quarter 4 – October, November, December: Deadline = January 31

If the due date for filing a return falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the due date is the next business day.

How to file?

While the IRS still accepts paper Forms 720, they encourage businesses to file electronically. To help excise taxpayers do this, the IRS posts the contact information on IRS.gov of all approved e-file transmitters for excise forms. Businesses can submit forms online 24 hours a day.

That said, not all excise forms can be filed electronically. Those that are available for electronic filing are:

  • Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax.
  • Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax.
  • Form 8849, Claim for Refund of Excise Taxes, Schedules 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8.

When businesses file Form 720 electronically, they not only get confirmation the IRS received the form, but it reduces processing time and errors. To electronically file Form 720, business taxpayers will have to pay the provider’s fee for online submission.

More information:

Subscribe to IRS Tax Tips