Federal Excise Tax

If you’re an ATA member in the archery and bowhunting business who makes or sells taxable archery products, you may have to pay a Federal Excise Tax.

What is the Federal Excise Tax?

The FET is a 10- to 11-percent tax manufacturers pay on the first sale of firearms, ammunition and some archery equipment. The tax goes back to the 1937 Wildlife Restoration Act, more commonly called the Pittman-Robertson Act. Archery equipment was added to the FET 35 years later in 1972. Since then, bows, arrows and all equipment that attaches to a bow and is used to shoot archery are subject to the FET.

Revenues generated by the FET are collected by the IRS and sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That agency redistributes the money to state wildlife agencies for habitat restoration, hunter education, wildlife research, public-access programs and other high-priority nationwide conservation projects. The FET helps boost the archery and bowhunting industry by ensuring people have places to hunt and animals to pursue. And of course, this means more money in the pockets of archery store owners.

How Does the F.E.T. Impact Me?


Is My Business Affected?

All firearms-, ammunition- and archery-industry members – with few exceptions – who manufacture, produce or import taxable equipment must pay the FET.

If you manufacture arrow shafts, bows with a draw weight of 30 pounds or more, or an accessory that attaches to a bow, you are required to make quarterly FET payments to the IRS. Companies other than those that manufacture products as described above also pay FET if they are involved in the final manufacture of products or in the first sale of taxable products in the U.S. That distinction includes retailers who make and sell items such as bowstrings and other taxable products.


How Does the F.E.T. Program Work?

All companies responsible for paying FET must file a quarterly excise tax return. To file, use IRS Form 720, which is due by the last day of the month following the close of the quarter. For example, for taxes accruing during the first quarter of the calendar year (January-March), taxpayers must file a return by April 30. Taxes on the sale of archery equipment should be paid with a company’s quarterly return, not in deposits.

The ATA provides their members with FET information, advice and advocacy. They also send updates as they occur, provide an FET seminar at the ATA Trade Show, and work directly with the state wildlife agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, IRS and the U.S. Congress. ATA staff members are available anytime to help you stay out of trouble with the IRS.

For FET-related questions and concerns, contact:

Wendy Lang, ATA's Membership Manager

Email Wendy