In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has provided sportfishing companies the option to delay their upcoming federal excise tax (FET) payment on sportfishing equipment.

The payment for the second quarter, covering the months of April, May and June 2020, is automatically postponed from July 31, 2020, to October 31, 2020. Companies who still wish to pay the excise tax by July 31, may do so.

The official IRS notice can  be found here.

Key points related to the announcement include:

  • It is entirely optional whether companies want to take advantage of the new October 31, deadline. Companies may still file by July 31, if they so desire.
  • The October 31, deadline is automatic; companies do not need to contact the IRS to request the extension.
  • The extended deadline only applies to the FET covering the second quarter (April, May and June) of 2020.
  • Companies who take advantage of the extended deadline must file a paper (not electronic) Form 720, adding the label “Notice 2020-48”in the top-center of the form, by the October 31 deadline.
  • FET payments for the second and third quarters of 2020 must be filed separately by October 31. They cannot be combined into a single payment.
  • The extended deadline does not affect the timing or amount of funding that state fish and wildlife agencies, or any other funding recipients of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Fund (SFRBTF), will receive. All SFRBTF funds collected during calendar year 2020 will be disbursed in calendar year 2021.

In response to numerous requests from members, in April the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) requested the Treasury Department delay the upcoming FET payment, which had already been granted for firearms and ammunition. While the request was not granted in time for the first quarter 2020 FET payment, due on April 30, ASA continued communications with the Treasury Department and engaged key allies in Congress.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and longtime champion of the sportsmen’s community, was particularly instrumental in securing the FET delay. In addition, Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) led a House Natural Resources Committee Republicans letter in support of the request.

Any ASA member companies interested in thanking these Members of Congress for their help may contact ASA’s Government Affairs VP Mike Leonard for more information.