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8 Steps to Apply for an SBR/SBS or Silencer with a ATF Form 1

You can get your ATF Approved NFA Tax Stamp for a SBR/SBS or a silencer in, as little as 8 steps.  This is assuming that you aren't a prohibited person in the eyes of the ATF and that the NFA Firearm that you are applying for is legal for you to own in the state that you are applying for it in. 

Step 1 - Create and Establish your NFA Gun Trust (if applicable): 

You can file for your tax stamp under three entities: an individual, a NFA Gun Trust or a legal entity.  We recommend that you purchase your NFA Tax Stamp with a NFA Gun Trust, as that provides you the most flexibility for you in the future.  If your applying as an individual or as another legal entity, you can skip this step.  We have an article here that explains the advantages of purchasing your NFA Firearm with a NFA Gun Trust, but ultimately the choice is yours.  If you do decide to apply for a NFA Tax Stamp with a NFA Gun Trust, you can purchase our NFA Gun Trust here - Purchase Your NFA Gun Trust.  Once purchased, we will review your trust and send you a final copy.  Once this is received you will need to get the trust, dated, signed, witnessed and notarized.  Once that is completed you can move to step two.

Step 2 - Purchase your NFA Firearm:  You will next need to purchase your NFA Firearm:  

This includes all of the following: Short-Barreled Rifles - SBR, Short-Barreled Shotgun - SBS, Silencer, Machine Gun, AOW, Destructive Device.  You might be manufacturing or making one of the above NFA Firearms.  If that is the case then you can purchase everything required to make or manufacture the NFA Firearm.  Note: You cannot fully manufacture or make your NFA Firearm, if that is the route you are going with until you have received your ATF Approved Tax Stamp back form the ATF

Step 3 - Complete your ATF 5320.1 Application to Make and Register a Firearm paperwork: 

You can use our ATF Paperwork walk-through guides below to aide you in that process.  

 *ATF Paperwork Walk-Through Guides:

With the ATF 5320.1 Application to Make and Register a Firearm, if you are filing for your ATF Tax Stamp as an individual then you will not be required to fill out the ATF 5320.23 Responsible Persons Questionnaire, all of these questions will be answered on the ATF 5320.1.  Subsequently, if you are filing for your ATF Tax Stamp with a NFA Gun Trust or as a legal entity then you will be required to fill out the ATF 5320.23 Responsible Persons Questionnaire.  The ATF paperwork will require additional sub-steps.  

  • You will need to fill out the ATF Form for the tax stamp that you are applying for.  You can decide which stamp is appropriate by the descriptions of the forms above. 
  • You will need to complete a ATF 5320.23 Responsible Persons Questionnaire for every responsible person if you are applying for your tax stamp with a NFA Gun Trust or as a legal entity.  
  • You will need to get one 2"x2" passport photo and two FD-258 fingerprint cards for each responsible person in the application.  If you are filing as an individual then this will be the person applying.  If you are applying with a NFA Gun Trust then this will be the identified responsible persons within the trust.  In our NFA Gun Trust this is the settlor and any co-trustees that are named. 

Step 4 - Review your Paperwork:  

Reviewing the paperwork for your ATF Tax Stamp application is important.  This is important because the smallest mistake in your paperwork can lead to either a denial of your paperwork or a delay in your paperwork.  Both of these issues can be avoided if you review your paperwork properly.  We offer ATF Paperwork consultation and review services.  With this service, we go line by line to verify everything is correct and ready to be submitted to the ATF.  You can take the pressure off with our services.  The 10 most common reasons why the ATF will return your paperwork are below:  

  1. Endorsement missing. - You missed a signature field on your application. 
  2. Payee not acceptable.  Checks should be made payable to: BATFE. - Make your check(s) or money order payable to: ATF/NFA Division P.O. Box 530298
    Atlanta, GA 30353-0298.  
    Per the payable terms on the ATF Form 4:
    2. i) Remittance. The applicant shall complete item 20. Please note that you may pay by credit/debit card, check, or money order. The check or money order is to be made payable to ATF. Do not send cash.
  3. No corresponding check submitted with an application. - You forgot to attach a check with your application. 
  4. Amount missing on payment form. - On the ATF Form 1 or ATF Form 4 paperwork, make sure that you have included the proper amount for the tax stamp that you are applying for. Usually this is $200 for most NFA Firearms, and $5 for AOW NFA Firearms. 
  5. Credit card number error. - You wrote or typed an invalid credit card number on the payment page. 
  6. Credit card expiration date invalid. - You wrote or typed an invalid credit card expiration date. 
  7. Credit card payment declined. - You wrote or typed credit card information that returned a decline from your banking institution.
  8. Incomplete Transferee's information. - Check section number 5 on the ATF Form 4 or ATF Form 1 to make sure the transferee's information is complete and correct. 
  9. No serial number was provided. - You didn't include a serial number of the NFA firearm that you are attempting to register. 
  10. Obsolete forms were received. - The form you submitted was an older version and not accepted by the National Firearms Act Division.  
  11. Other. - This may or may not be used to explain why your application was returned to you. 

Step 5 - Submit your ATF Paperwork to the ATF and the CLEO [Chief Law Enforcement Officer]:

The last and final step is to package up your ATF paperwork and submit the paperwork to the ATF and to your identified CLEO [from your paperwork in step 3].  When you submit your ATF paperwork to the ATF, we always recommend to our clients is to send this paperwork to the ATF with a mailing service that allows for a tracking number.  This is for you to ensure that your paperwork arrived to the ATF.    At the bottom of the ATF 5320.1 Application to Make and Register a Firearm form walk-through guides there is the checklist for the ATF and the CLEO.  You can view that below:

Step 6 - Wait for your Check to be Cashed or your Credit Card to Charged

This step indicates that your application was received by the ATF and the status of your application is now "pending."  Now the wait begins.

Step 7 - Wait for your Approved Tax Stamp

Now you will need to wait until you receive your tax stamp in the mail or if applicable your FFL with SOT dealer receives your stamp. 

Step 8 - Stamp Received - Build, Add to Trust, and Engrave

Once your tax stamp is received, you are able to now to "make, manufacture, and/or build" your SBR/SBS or silencer.  This is also, the step where you can add the SBR/SBS  or silencer to your NFA Gun Trust, if you have applied with a NFA Gun Trust on your ATF Form 1.  This is the step that we generally recommend to get your SBR/SBS lower engraved, or your silencer tube engraved with the trust information.  We say that because there is a chance that your application will not approved by the ATF.  But if you have applied for a few tax stamps and have been approved, your approval chances for a sub-sequential approval are much higher than someone who has never applied before. Granted this is our thought process and advice for someone applying for their first stamp. But you can engrave the lower at any point in time in the process.


Information located within this article is current as of August, 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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