The authors studied the densification and dielectric properties of sol-gel derived tantalum oxide thin films as insulators in MIS capacitors. Hydrolysis of tantalum ethoxide is rapid and goes to completion in ethanol. Condensation is also rapid and goes to completion in toluene. Multiple layers were applied by spin-coating up to thicknesses of 3000 Angstrom before cracking of the coating during drying ensured. Densification occurs from room temperature to 450 C, with the original film thickness decreasing by about half in one hour at 450 C. No additional densification occurs upon heating to 750 C. The dielectric constant decreases from unfired samples to those fired at 450 C, and then increases on firing from 600 to 750 C. The value of the dielectric constant at 1 MHz for samples fired at 750 C for one hour is 20. Leakage currents as low as 2 multiplied by 10** minus **7 amp cm** minus **2 have been measured for applied fields of 200,000 v cm** minus **1.