Understanding ATF eForms with Silencer ShopUnderstanding ATF eForms with Silencer Shop

What are ATF eForms?

ATF eForms is the online portal for filing paperwork for NFA items such as a short barrel rifle (SBR), short barrel shotgun (SBS), suppressor, or 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 system 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. 

 

The most common types of ATF Forms for consumers who purchase or build NFA items are the ATF Form 4 and Form 1.  In this writeup, you’ll learn the most common ATF electronic forms relating to these items.

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 suppressor? 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. 


ATF Form 4ATF Form 4

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 eForm. 

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. 

How long does it take to get a Form 4 approved? 

Currently, paper Form 4 wait times are averaging around 280-300 days or 7-10 months.  ATF states it hopes to significantly reduce approval times for electronically-filed eForm 4s.

How long does an NFA tax stamp last? 

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.

Do I need to submit fingerprints with my eForm? 

Yes, fingerprints are required for consumers when filing an eForm 1 or eForm 4. The Silencer Shop kiosk is an excellent resource to scan your fingerprints for your NFA application. The fingerprint scanned at the kiosk will be included in your application when you certify and submit your application at a Powered By Silencer Shop dealer. 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.  
  • 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.

ATF Form 1ATF Form 1

What Is An Electronic Form 1?

If you’re building your own suppressor or converting an existing weapon to be either an SBR or SBS, you would file an eForm 1.  As with the eForm 4, you must create an ATF eForm account to eFile an eForm 1.  To register, visit: https://eforms.atf.gov/  

 

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.  


ATF Form 3ATF Form 3

What Is An Electronic Form 3?

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.

Conclusion

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, simplified.