The most common types of ATF Forms for consumers who purchase or build NFA firearms or other items are the ATF Form 4 and Form 1. In this write-up, you’ll learn the most common ATF electronic forms relating to these items.
What are ATF eForms?
ATF eForms is the online portal for filing paperwork for NFA items such as:
Short barrel rifle (SBR)
Short barrel shotgun (SBS)
Any other weapon (AOW)
An eForm is the electronic version of the ATF Form 5320 series. These forms are required for consumers, manufacturers, and dealers to buy, sell, and build items regulated by the ATF.
On December 23, 2021, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives updated their online electronic submission portal for eForms to support Forms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9. Prior to this date, the eForms of the ATF did not support the Form 4, which had to be filed via a physical, paper submission.
If you’re electronically filing for an NFA tax stamp, you may be wondering if eForm and eFile are the same things. Yes: an eForm and eFile are the same.
What forms do I need to file to get my NFA item?
If you are buying an NFA item, you must file an ATF eForm 4. If you are building your own suppressor or building an SBR, you must file an ATF eForm 1. Details about the electronic submission of the different ATF forms are covered below.
What is the difference between ATF Form 1 and 4?
You may be wondering: what is a Form 1? If you’re building your own NFA item (such as a silencer or short barrel rifle from a braced pistol), submit an ATF eForm 1.
The difference between an ATF Form 1 and ATF Form 4 is building the item on your own or purchasing an item that’s been manufactured for that intended purpose. For example, a Form 4 is used when a consumer purchases an item (such as a suppressor), online, or through a Powered By Silencer Shop dealer.
If the suppressor was manufactured and shipped ready to use, you would use a Form 4. If you’re building the suppressor yourself using pieces and parts, you would file a Form 1.
What is a Form 3?
When a customer purchases a suppressor or other NFA item through Silencer Shop’s inventory, it will be transferred to the customer’s local dealer using the ATF Form 3. Form 3s initiate a transfer from one federal firearms licensee (FFL) to another FFL, usually for the purpose of facilitating a sale to a customer in another state.
Form 3s do not involve the making of a new suppressor or other NFA item.
What Is A Form 4?
Unless you’re a federal firearms licensee (FFL), you’ll need to file a Form 4 in order to purchase an NFA item such as a suppressor, short barrel rifle (SBR), short barrel shotgun (SBS), machine gun, or any other weapon (AOW).
Example: if you live in any of the 42 states where suppressors are legal and purchase a suppressor, the seller will prepare a Form 4, which you will need to certify, in order for the ATF to approve and register the transfer of the suppressor to you.
Prior to December 2021, this likely would’ve been a paper form, but can now be processed electronically as an atf eForm 4.
What is a Form 4 suppressor?
If you’re buying an NFA item that was manufactured for purchase (as opposed to you making the item), you’ll file an ATF eForm 4.
Can you eFile a Form 4 as a Trust?
Yes! eForms allows you to eFile as a Trust, Corporation, or Individual.
An NFA tax stamp is valid for the life of the item it is assigned to. Most suppressors will last a lifetime so they’re commonly passed down through trusts. When an NFA item is registered through a trust and still in working order, the same tax stamp still applies. There is no predetermined expiration date for an NFA tax stamp.
Note: if you mail a paper fingerprint card, your processing time will begin after that card is received and scanned by the ATF.
Things to Keep In Mind With Electronic Form 4 Submissions
You must create an ATF eForms account in order to submit an eForm. To create an account, visit eforms.atf.gov. When creating your ATF eForms login, please use the same email address as your Silencer Shop account.
In order to submit an eForm 4 successfully, it has to be done with a dealer that has an SOT.
Errors in the application: The ATF has made it clear that with eForms, accuracy is extremely important. Applications with an error cannot be pulled for correction. The application will follow the estimated 90 days for processing and then be rejected due to the error. It will need to be corrected and then resubmitted, with another estimated 90 days for approval.
Submitting an eForm can be done remotely if you file as a Trust or Corporation. If you file as an individual, you must certify in person with your Powered By Silencer Shop dealer.
Per the ATF, your eForms username, PIN, and password information are confidential and should not be shared with anyone.
When filing your eForm 4, the NFA item must already be assigned to you. You can’t file your eForm while you’re still deciding if/which item(s) you’ll purchase.
What Is An Electronic Form 1?
If you’re building your own short-barreled rifle or shotgun or converting your brace weapon to an SBR/SBS, you will utilize the ATF eForm 1. The ATF eForm 1 allows you to create your own NFA item after approval.
Keep in mind that on the eForm 1 application, the serial number you will be engraving must be listed in box 4H. Your serial number must also include a letter and a number. Additionally, no special characters are allowed.
Does Silencer Shop do Form 1?
Yes, Silencer Shop's Form 1 Service facilitates eForm 1 submissions for your short-barreled rifle or shotgun application with our updated eForm 1 system. Our eForm 1 system is also compatible with tax-exempt forbearance applications in accordance with the recent ATF pistol brace rule.
How To Fill Out ATF Form 1
Silencer Shop makes filling out an ATF Form 1 easy, we take care of all the complex paperwork for you.
Simply create an account on our site, enter your demographic information, snap a selfie and upload it using our smartphone app, and visit a kiosk to submit your fingerprints. If you’ve already submitted a Form 4 through us previously, your profile is likely already complete!
Please note: Because each Powered by Silencer Shop dealer is independently owned and operated, dealers may charge a fee of up to $40 to use their kiosk.
Can You Use a Single Shot Trust with Form 1?
Yes! When filling an eForm 1 with Silencer Shop you can take advantage of the simplest trust options on the market, our Single Shot or Single Shot Unlimited trusts.
Note: For tax-exempt registrations in accordance with 2021R-08F, registration must be done as an individual unless the braced weapon was owned by a trust prior to the day the Rule is published in the Federal Register (January 31, 2023). ATF requirestax-exempt trust registrations to include a signed, dated, and notarized trust or trust addendum as evidence the trust possessed the firearm prior to the publication date.
The purpose of a Form 3 is to transfer NFA items from one SOT to another SOT. Note: this is not an aspect that involves the consumer.
Example: if you make a purchase on silencershop.com, we will do an eForm 3 to transfer your item to the Powered By Silencer Shop dealer that you selected. You will not have any direct involvement.
Changes That May Impact You
An eForm 3 is related to an eForm 4 because eForm 3 must be completed prior to an eForm 4 being filed. The receiving FFL/SOT must formally acquire the NFA item. Once acquired, the eForm 4 will be submitted.
Understanding ATF eForms is easy when you have a clear understanding of the most common forms (4 and 1) that consumers file for their NFA items.
Filing your form(s) electronically will expedite the ATF processing times, and by partnering with Silencer Shop, you'll experience silencer ownership simplifie.