Excise Tax

Excise taxes have been imposed on U.S. taxpayers since the inception of the country. Existing excise taxes on articles such as fuel, alcohol, tobacco, and heavy vehicles were enacted in the early to mid-1900s. Today there are over 30 federal excise taxes administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Each tax has its own rules, complex regulations and procedures. States and local governments also impose excise tax on a wide range of articles and services.

The Far Reach of Excise Tax

Excise taxes affect many middle market companies in a wide range of industries including:

  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing
  • Energy and environmental
  • Food and beverage
  • Healthcare and life sciences
  • Retail dealers and sellers
  • Importers
  • Building and construction
  • Aerospace and defense
  • Banking, insurance, and financial products
  • Gaming

RSM’s full service excise tax practice covers a complete range of excise taxes and credits, including:

  • Manufacturers taxes (e.g., petroleum products and motor fuel; tires; sporting goods; firearms)
  • Retail taxes (e.g., alternative fuels; ethanol; biodiesel; heavy trucks and trailers)
  • Air transportation taxes for passengers and property
  • Environmental taxes (e.g., ozone-depleting chemicals; oil spill; superfund)
  • Heavy vehicle highway use tax
  • Foreign insurance excise tax
  • Wagering excise tax
  • Affordable Care Act provisions (e.g., branded prescription drug fee; tanning excise tax; PCORI fee)
  • Communications excise taxes
  • Fuel credits (e.g., taxable fuel; alcohol; biodiesel; alternative fuel)
  • Excise taxes administered by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (e.g., spirits; wine; beer; tobacco; firearms; ammunition)

Our Services

RSM’s excise tax practice advises clients on the complexities of excise taxes administered by the IRS, TTB and state and local governments.  Our services include:

  • Controversy disputes and representation
  • Planning and refund opportunities
  • Consulting
  • Due diligence
  • Compliance and registrations
  • CPE trainings
  • Tax system implementations

Our Professionals

RSM’s excise tax practice is led by Washington National Tax professionals with more than 20 years of government and private sector experience.  Our goal is to be your first choice advisor by bringing our experts to team with you to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to your tax matters.  We will evaluate opportunities and areas of risk to provide you with a clear assessment based on your particular situation.



Treasury issues final aviation excise tax regulations

Final air transportation excise tax regulations provide rules for aircraft management services exemption and update prior regulations.

  • January 12, 2021


IRS extends energy safe harbor for offshore or federal land projects

The continuity safe harbor of the beginning of construction requirement is extended to energy credits for offshore or federal land projects.

  • January 06, 2021


Extension of temporary relief for fuel removals in Wisconsin

Guidance permits tax relief for fuel removed from terminals in Milwaukee or Madison and entered into Green Bay terminals through 2021.

  • December 23, 2020


Permanent excise tax breaks for craft brewers, wineries and distillers

Industry backed legislation passed by Congress to make permanent excise tax rate reductions for craft beer, wine, and distilled spirits.

  • December 23, 2020


COVID-19 relief Act extends and improves many credits and incentives

The 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act passes Congress and includes many extended and improved tax credits and incentives.

  • December 22, 2020


Congress passes appropriations bill, containing COVID-19 relief bill

Last minute negotiations pave way for Congress to pass second major COVID-19 stimulus package with tax law changes and tax extenders.

  • December 22, 2020


TTB extends excise tax exemption on production of hand sanitizer

Exemption from excise tax on hand sanitizer extended and all FDA approved formulas permitted without requiring prior TTB approval.

  • December 21, 2020


IRS issues interim guidance on backlog of fuel credit claims

The IRS has developed new guidance for processing interest bearing fuel claims, including one-time claims for alternative fuel credits.

  • December 15, 2020


2020 year end tax considerations for businesses

Tax planning opportunities for consideration in light of COVID-19, the resulting economic crisis, and evolving tax laws and regulations.

  • October 15, 2020


Guide to excise taxes: 5 things every business should know

Excise taxes can have a serious financial impact on business, yet many aren’t focused on the potential impacts.

  • October 14, 2020

Excise Tax Consulting

Debbie Gordon
Washington National Tax
Area of Focus: Excise Tax Consulting

Receive our tax newsletters by Email


How can we help you with business incentives?