Tao is the pinyin romanization of the Chinese surname 陶 (Táo). It ranked 31st among the Song-era Hundred Family Surnames.
Tào is also a Vietnamese surname derived from the Chinese surname Cao (Chữ Nôm: 曹).
Various Chinese Tao family from;
Tao was romanized T'ao under the Wade-Giles system, although it was common to omit the apostrophe. It is romanized To, Tou and Tow in Cantonese; Tô in Minnan; and Tháu in Gan.
The Vietnamese surname formerly written as 陶 in Chữ Nôm is now written Đào; the Korean surname formerly written as 陶 in Hanja is now written 도 and romanized Do; the same surname in Kanji is romanized Tō in Japanese.
Tao was the 82nd-most-common surname in mainland China, but it was unlisted among the 100 most common Taiwanese surnames.
Tao is a fairly uncommon surname in the United States, being ranked 12,503rd during the 1990 census and 10,033rd during the year 2000 one.
Some Zhejiangese Tao who joined the White Banner upon the advent of the Qing dynasty Manchufied their name to Tohoro (Chinese: Tuohuoluo).
List of persons with the surname 
- David Tao or Tao Zhe, singer
- Tao Kan, Jin Dynasty general and governor
- Tao Lin, a famous author
- Tao Luna, sports shooter
- Michael Tao, television actor
- Tao Qian, warlord during the late Han Dynasty
- Tao Yuanming, influential pre-Tang Dynasty Chinese poet
- Tao Siju, politician
- Terence Tao, Australian mathematician and 2006 Fields Medalist
- Tao Yang, Professor at UCSB and Chief Scientist at Ask Jeeves
- Tao Yuanming, scholar and poet
- Tao Zhu, politician