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ATF Form 5 NFA Tax Stamp Walk-Through Guide

How to guide and walk-through guide for the ATF Form 5 NFA Tax Stamp Application - ATF 5320.5 Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of Firearm

How do I fill out the ATF Form 5 Tax Stamp Application?  In this step by step walk-trough guide we go over ever line item in the ATF Form 5.  The ATF Form 5 isn't the only form needed to apply for a tax free NFA tax stamp.  You will also need the ATF Form 23 (5320.23), which is the NFA Responsible Person Questionnaire, only if you are applying for your ATF Tax Stamp with a NFA Gun Trust or corporation.  If you are applying with the ATF Form 5, this you might be an heir to the NFA Firearm that you are trying to register.  If that is the case you should consider using a NFA Gun Trust to transfer this NFA firearm too.   The ATF Form 5 and ATF 5320.23 paperwork are available for download below.

Document Download Links Below:

ATF Paperwork Generators:

Step by Step Walk-Through Guide for the ATF 5320.5 Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of Firearm.

NOTE:  In order to file for a tax free stamp as an heir.  You will need to submit a death certificate and a will or trust showing you are an heir to the NFA item.  The executer of the estate will need to sign boxes 9 through 11.  The executer will need to hold onto the NFA firearms until your ATF Form 5 is approved.  If you are the heir and the executer of the estate, then you can take possession of the NFA firearm(s) while your ATF Form 5 is being approved.  The average ATF From 5 turnaround time is 1 month. 

Before you start the walk-through be sure to download a copy of each form from the links above.  We have also included an example filled out form that you can reference along the way, as well.  The ATF Form 5 and ATF Form 5320.23 both contain fillable fields for Adobe Acrobat.  Which makes it very easy to go through the forms.  You will only need to fill out pages 1 through 3 of the ATF Form 5.  The information in these first 3 pages is carried over throughout the rest of the document - ATF Copy 2 (pages 7 through 9) and CLEO Copy (pages 10-12).  This is also true for ATF Form 5320.23.  Once pages 1 through 2 are completed the information is carried over to the CLEO copy (pages 3 through 4). 

1. Type of Transfer: tax exempt. Select your tax exempt transfer reason. 

2a.  The Transferee’s name and address. This is the name of your gun trust and the address where you are going to store the NFA firearm.  If you choose to change the location of the NFA firearm, you can do that by using the ATF Form 20 (5020.20).  Since a gun trust is applying for the tax stamp check the TRUST or LEGAL ENTITY at the bottom of 2a.   

2b.  County.  This is the county, parish, or borough that the NFA firearm will be stored at.  This is not the country.

3a.  If Applicable: Decedent's Name, Address and Date of Death.   This is used only when you are the heir to the NFA firearm and you are transferring to your gun trust.  To use this you must have selected the "Firearm is being transferred to a lawful heir or by operation of law" box in box 1. Type of Transfer: tax exempt. 

Items in 3 and 4 are typically filled out by your SOT/Class 3 dealer. 

3b-e.  Transferor’s Name and Address.  This is filled out by your SOT/Class 3 dealer.

4a.  Manufacturer. The manufacture of the NFA firearms name and address goes here.

4b.  Type of Firearm. This is where you indicate the type of NFA firearm you are trying to get a tax stamp for.  Options include: Silencer, Short-barreled rifle, Short-barreled shotgun, Machine Gun, Any Other Weapon (AOW), or Destructive Device.

4c.  Caliber or Gauge.  This is the caliber or gauge of the NFA firearm.  5.56 MM or .223 Cal is acceptable. Slang terms like .338 Lapua or 300 Blackout are not acceptable here.  In the event that you are registering a Machine Gun Sear, use N/A here.   

4d.  Model.  This is the model name of the NFA Firearm.

4 e/f. (Length) Of barrel and (Length) Overall.  This is the length of the barrel itself and the overall length of the NFA firearm.  In the event, you are registering a silencer box 4e is N/A and box 4f is the length of the actual silencer.  This information can be obtained from the manufacturer of the silencer.   

4g.  Serial Number.  This is the serial number that is engraved on the NFA firearm.

4h.  Additional Description or Data Appearing on Firearm.  This box is normally left blank.  You can however add additional information here or additional markings that appear on the NFA firearm here.

4i.  Is the Firearm Unserviceable as Defined in Definition 1m?.  Select Yes or No depending on the current status of the firearm.  If you haven't rendered the firearm unserviceable you will need to include extra sheets to this application explaining how you will do so.  Box 1m reads: 

"Unserviceable Firearm. One which is incapable of discharging a shot by means of an explosive and incapable of being readily restored to firing condition. An acceptable method of rendering most firearms unserviceable is to fusion weld the chamber closed and fusion weld the barrel solidly to the frame."

5. Transferee’s Federal Firearms License. This is the FFL information of the person buying the NFA firearm. This box will be left blank if you are using a gun trust.

6 a/b.  Transferee’s Special Tax Status. This is the buyers Federal EIN number or SSN. If you didn’t fill out box 5 then this box will also be left blank

7. Transferor’s Federal Firearms License. This is the FFL information of the seller. This will be completed by the dealer.   If you are transferring an already owned NFA firearm into your trust you will leave this blank, unless the item is located at a FFL dealer.

8 a/b.  Transferee’s Special Tax Status. This is the dealer’s Federal EIN number or SSN. Your dealer will supply you with this information.

NOTE: If you are applying for a tax free heir transfer, then executer of the estate will need to sign boxes 9 through 11.

9.  Signature of Transferor. The dealer will sign this form. This is the dealer that you are purchasing the NFA item from.  This is the person who the item is being obtained from.

10. Name and Title of Authorized Official. The dealer will fill this out.

11. Date. The dealer will fill this out.

12.  Law Enforcement Notification. This is the agency name, name of official, title and address where you sent the CLEO notification to.  The CLEO is defined in definitions section 2d as,

"The chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) is considered to be the Chief of Police; the Sheriff; the Head of the State Police; or a State or local district attorney or prosecutor [of your county]."

13.  Transferee Necessity Statement. The individual or settlor of the trust name goes here. If purchasing with a NFA Gun trust, you will write the name of the settlor and trustee after that, i.e. Mike Smith, Trustee. The reason should be “Any Lawful Purpose” or "Investment and All Other Lawful Purposes." 

14 – 17. Transferee Questions. These boxes are only to be filled out if an individual is purchasing a NFA firearm.  If you are purchasing through a gun trust then these will be answered in the ATF Form 5320.23.  Don’t affix a photo here if you are registering under a gun trust.  This is also done in the ATF Form 5320.23.  On the bottom of the page under box 17, you will need to sign your name and include Trustee after your name.  I.e Mike Smith, Trustee and the date you signed.

18.  Number of Responsible Persons. This is the number of responsible persons in your gun trust.  This only includes the Settlor and the Co-Trustees.  Successor Trustees and Beneficiaries are not responsible persons.  To avoid confusion spell out the number here. I.e. 2 would be written two. 

19.  Name(s). List up 8 responsible persons that are in your gun trust.  If you have more than 8 responsible persons in your gun trust you can attach another list on a separate sheet. 

Purchase and Mailing Checklist 

Use our example forms above to carefully complete (2) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) Form 4's (5320.5) and sign in blue or black ink.

Identify your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) for your county. 

Using the mailing checklist below, mail your completed paperwork to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) and your Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO).

Mailing Documentation for your CLEO:

(1) BATFE Form 5 (5320.5) - Note: from your ATF Form 5 these are pages 10 through 12. (Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm).

(1) BATFE Form 5320.23 - Note: from your ATF 5320.23 these are pages 3 through 4(National Firearms Act Responsible Person Questionnaire) from all Responsible Persons.

Each other responsible person of the gun trust, if applicable, will mail the below to their CLEO.

(1) BATFE Form 5320.23 - Note: from your ATF Form 5320.23 these are pages 3 through 4 (National Firearms Act Responsible Person Questionnaire) 

Mailing Documentation for the BATFE:

(1) Stapled Photocopy of NFA Gun Trust Documentation. (you can purchase your NFA Gun Trust here).  Include a copy of any and each amendment(s) in your NFA Gun Trust.  If you don't have any gun trust amendments, then this doesn't apply to you.

(1) Original BATFE Form 5's (5320.5) ATF COPY - Note: from your ATF Form 5 these are pages 1 through 3. (Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of Firearm).

(1) Original BATFE Form 5's (5320.5) ATF COPY 2 - Note: from your ATF Form 5 these are pages 7 through 9. (Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of Firearm)

(1) Original BATFE Form 5320.23 - Note: you need pages 1 through 2 for each Responsible Person that is active in the gun trust and located on your gun trust.  This includes: settlor and all co-trustees.  (National Firearms Act Responsible Person Questionnaire).  You need to include the below bulleted items with your BATFE Form 5230.23.

  • Affix (1) Passport Photo - 2x2 to Item 3e on Form 5320.23. This applies to every 5320.23 you are submitting to the ATF.  Use a paperclip to affix the passport photo to your ATF Form 5320.23. 
  • (2) Original FBI Form FD-258's (Fingerprint Card) from all Responsible Persons.  Use a paperclip to affix the Original FBI Form FD-258's to the ATF Form 5320.23. Fingerprints must be submitted on Fingerprint Identification Cards, FD–258 that have been issued by ATF. The fingerprint cards must contain the following ORI information: WVATF0900; ATF–NATL EXPL LIC, MARTINSBURG WV. You can buy the FBI Form FD-258's Paper Fingerprinting Packet Here.  The fingerprint cards must be completed by your local law enforcement authority. Source ATF, "How do I get my fingerprints taken?".
The below also, needs to be mailed if you are applying for a tax free heir transfer.
(1) Death Certificate (if applicable and applying for a tax free heir transfer)
(1) Will or Trust showing you as a beneficiary for the NFA firearm(s) that you are trying to transfer.


Mail your BATFE paperwork and a copy of your NFA gun trust to:

National Firearms Act Branch
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
P.O. Box 530298
Atlanta, GA 30353-0298

Information located within this article is current as of June, 2018. Information located within this article is an original guide created by National Gun Trusts and not to be cited or used without the written permission of National Gun Trusts. 

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