Form 720

Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return

Understanding tax forms can be a daunting process. Among these, the 720 form stands out for its specific use and the entities it applies to. This comprehensive guide endeavors to demystify the 720 form, offering you a step-by-step understanding of its purpose, who needs it, and how to navigate it effectively.

What is a 720 Form?

The 720 form, known formally as the "Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return," is a document used by the IRS for the collection of excise taxes. Excise taxes are indirect taxes on specific goods, services, and activities. The revenue collected from these taxes typically goes towards funding particular government programs.

  • Purpose and Significance: The form serves as a means for businesses to calculate and report the amount of excise tax they owe for certain activities. These taxes apply to a variety of sectors, including environmental, communications, air transportation, fuel, and more.
  • Components of the Form: The 720 form consists of parts and schedules that allow taxpayers to report various types of excise taxes. Detailed instructions provided by the IRS guide fillers through the calculation process for each tax category applicable to their situation.

Who Needs a 720 Form?

Not every business will need to file a Form 720. This requirement specifically applies to:

  • Businesses dealing in the manufacture, sale, or use of goods and services subject to federal excise taxes.
  • Entities responsible for collecting these taxes, such as operators of indoor tanning services.
  • Obligations: The 720 form must be filed quarterly, and there are strict deadlines: April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31 for the respective quarters.
  • Deadlines are critical in avoiding penalties and ensuring compliance with federal tax obligations.

How to Read and Understand 720 Form

Navigating the 720 form can initially seem complex due to its detailed breakdown of tax categories. Here's a simplified overview:

  • Part I details taxes related to the sale or use of specific goods and services, listed by IRS numbers.
  • Part II covers excise taxes related to fuel.
  • Familiarize yourself with common terms like "taxable gallons," "communication services," and "environmental taxes" to correctly report and calculate your due taxes.

How to Get Your 720 Form

Obtaining the 720 form is straightforward:

  • Visit the IRS website’s 720 form page to download the latest version for the tax year 2023.
  • Ensure you have the correct year's form to comply with any updates or changes in tax rates and policies.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Mistakes can delay processing and potentially result in penalties. Common errors include:

  • Incorrect Tax Calculations: Double-check all math and refer to the IRS instructions for complicated sections.
  • Filing Late: Keep track of filing deadlines to avoid late fees.
  • Utilize IRS resources or professional advice for clarity on complex issues.

720 Form and Tax Filing

The 720 form plays a unique role in tax filing by ensuring businesses contribute fairly to government programs funded by excise taxes. It's separate from income tax returns but is essential for:

  • Compliance with federal tax laws.
  • Potentially impacting your tax returns and refunds if applicable.

FAQ Section

  1. Who is required to file a 720 form?
    Any business entity that deals with goods and services subject to federal excise taxes.

  2. How often do I need to file a 720 form?
    It must be filed quarterly within the deadlines specified by the IRS.

  3. Can I file a 720 form electronically?
    Yes, the IRS encourages electronic filing for accuracy and efficiency. See the IRS e-file information.

  4. What if I make a mistake on my 720 form?
    You should file an amended return as soon as possible to correct any errors.

  5. Where can I get help filling out the 720 form?
    The IRS provides detailed instructions, or you can consult a tax professional.


The 720 form is a critical document for businesses involved in specific industries. Understanding its purpose, who it applies to, and how to file it correctly ensures compliance and contributes to the smooth operation of various government programs funded by these excise taxes. While it may seem complex at first, leveraging available resources and, if necessary, professional guidance can streamline the process.

For situations that transcend the basics, always consider reaching out to a tax professional who can provide personalized advice tailored to your specific business needs.

Ensuring you're equipped with the right information and resources is paramount. This guide serves as a foundational resource to navigate the complexities of the 720 form, aiding in your compliance and tax filing journey.

Always refer to the IRS website or a tax professional for the most accurate and up-to-date information. provides general information and software tools for tax preparation; however, it does not offer personalized tax, legal, or professional advice. It's recommended to consult with a qualified professional for specific advice related to your financial situation.