The Lowdown on Excise Tax

Generally, federal excise tax is imposed on the sale of specific goods, services, or certain uses. Some examples include fuel, airline tickets, heavy trucks and highway tractors, tires, tobacco, alcohol, indoor tanning services, and other goods and services. The tax may be imposed at the time of import, sale by the manufacturer, sale by the retailer, or use by the manufacturer or consumer.


You generally must file an IRS Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return to report and pay the tax. Excise taxes are in addition to any sales tax on items and independent of income tax. States may levy excise tax as well. You’ll find a similar state or local form on the tax authority’s website.

You can pass the cost of excise tax onto your customers.


You can deduct federal excise taxes paid for goods or services on your small business taxes, potentially decreasing your small business effective tax rate.

Excise taxes collected from customers are not deductible.

You might want to consult a tax professional to help you with reporting and filing.