What Documents Do I Send to the ATF?

Our customers frequently ask about the documents that need to be sent to the ATF to form a complete application, to whom should the check or money order be made payable, and where do they send the application. The answer depends on whether they want to: (1) transfer an already-manufactured NFA firearm to their gun trust; or (2) to manufacture the gun trust’s own new NFA firearm.

Transfer of an Existing NFA Firearm

The first situation commonly arises when customers buy silencers and short-barreled rifles from a Class 3 dealer. In this case, the transfer is accomplished using two (2) different ATF forms:

  • ATF Form 4 (5320.4) – Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm, as revised in May 2016; and
  • ATF Form 23 (5320.23) – National Firearms Act (NFA) Responsible Person Questionnaire, as revised in May 2016.

Save ATF Forms 4 and 23 onto the Computer System

As an initial matter, ATF Forms 4 and 23 are fillable Adobe pdf files. Save the two files onto the computer system first, then complete the forms. In other words, do not complete when displayed in the Internet browser, or else the information will not be saved when the file is saved later to the computer system.

When the ATF Copy (pages 1–3) of ATF Form 4 is completed, the information is automatically carried over to the ATF Copy 2 (pages 7–9) and the CLEO Copy (pages 10–12). Similarly, when the ATF Copy (pages 1–2) of ATF Form 23 is completed, the information is automatically carried over to the CLEO Copy (pages 3–4).

Special Printing Instructions for ATF Form 4

Because ATF Form 4 does not include a blank page at page 10, the CLEO copy begins to print on the back page of the ATF Copy 2. To avoid this, I recommend these special printing instructions for ATF Form 4 as follows:

  • Print the ATF Copy (pages 1–3) double-sided, so that the back side of page 3 is blank;
  • Print the ATF Copy 2 (pages 7–9) double-sided, so that the back side of page 9 is blank; and
  • Print the CLEO Copy (pages 10–12) double-sided, so that the back side of page 12 is blank.

The ATF did not make the same mistake on Form 23, so no special printing instructions are required. Simply print ATF Form 23 double-sided. Depending on the number of “Responsible Persons” on the NFA gun trust, there may be more than one ATF Form 23 to be completed. In other words, each “Responsible Person” on the gun trust needs to complete ATF Form 23. For more information regarding the meaning of the term “Responsible Persons,” please visit https://www.guntrustguru.com/who-is-a-responsible-person-in-a-gun-trust.html.

Two Sets of Documents are Required to be Mailed

Two different sets of documents are required for a complete ATF Form 4 application: (1) the documents mailed to the ATF; and (2) the documents mailed to the CLEO.

  • Documents Mailed to the ATF

All of the documents that comprise a complete ATF Form 4 application that is mailed to the ATF are:

  • one (1) original, double-sided ATF Copy (pages 1-3) of ATF Form 4 (do not staple);
  • one (1) original, double-sided ATF Copy 2 (pages 7-9) of ATF Form 4 (do not staple);
  • one (1) original double-sided ATF Copy (pages 1–2) of ATF Form 23 for each “Responsible Person” of the NFA gun trust (do not staple). Each ATF Copy of ATF Form 23 includes:
    • one (1) 2×2 passport-type photograph (use tape); and
    • two (2) FD-258 fingerprint cards (attach to ATF Form 23 using a paper clip);
  • one (1) single-sided copy of the NFA gun trust (stapled);
  • one (1) single-sided copy of each amendment, if any, to the NFA gun trust (stapled);
  • one (1) single-sided copy of each Appointment of Additional Co-Trustee document, if any, for each Additional Co-Trustee who is still serving (stapled); and
  • if paying the $200 transfer tax by check, cashier’s check, or money order, also include the check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to “BATFE.” Place it on top of the above documents.

Use a paper clip to hold all of the above documents together and place the complete ATF Form 4 application in a flat envelope. Mail the ATF Form 4 application to the address shown near the top of ATF Form 4, which is currently:

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

  • Documents Mailed to the CLEO(s)

The “Responsible Person” of the gun trust who resides that the Transferee’s address shown in Box 2a of ATF Form 4 must mail the following documents to his or her CLEO shown in Box 12 of ATF Form 4 and Box 5 of ATF Form 23:

  • one (1) original, double-sided CLEO Copy (pages 10-12) of ATF Form 4; and
  • one (1) original double-sided CLEO Copy (pages 3–4) of ATF Form 23.

Each other “Responsible Person” of the gun trust, if any, mails one (1) original double-sided CLEO Copy (pages 3–4) of ATF Form 23 to his or her respective CLEO shown in Box 5 of his or her ATF Form 23.

Manufacture of a New NFA Firearm

The second situation commonly arises when customers want to shorten the barrel on one of their existing rifles so that is less than 16 inches in length, install a stock onto an existing pistol, install a short-barreled upper onto the lower receiver of one of their existing rifles, or build their own silencer. In this case, the manufacturing process is accomplished using two (2) different ATF forms:

  • ATF Form 1 (5320.1) – Application to Make and Register a Firearm, as revised in May 2016; and
  • ATF Form 23 (5320.23) – National Firearms Act (NFA) Responsible Person Questionnaire, as revised in May 2016.

Save ATF Forms 1 and 23 onto the Computer System

As an initial matter, ATF Forms 1 and 23 are fillable Adobe pdf files. Save the two files onto the computer system first, then complete the forms. In other words, do not complete when displayed in the Internet browser, or else the information will not be saved when the file is saved later to the computer system.

When the ATF Copy (pages 1–3) of ATF Form 1 is completed, the information is automatically carried over to the ATF Copy 2 (pages 7–9) and the CLEO Copy (pages 10–12). Similarly, when the ATF Copy (pages 1–2) of ATF Form 23 is completed, the information is automatically carried over to the CLEO Copy (pages 3–4).

Special Printing Instructions for ATF Form 1

Because ATF Form 1 does not include a blank page at page 10, the CLEO copy begins to print on the back page of the ATF Copy 2. To avoid this, I recommend these special printing instructions for ATF Form 1 as follows:

  • Print the ATF Copy (pages 1–3) double-sided, so that the back side of page 3 is blank;
  • Print the ATF Copy 2 (pages 7–9) double-sided, so that the back side of page 9 is blank; and
  • Print the CLEO Copy (pages 10–12) double-sided, so that the back side of page 12 is blank.

The ATF did not make the same mistake on Form 23, so no special printing instructions are required. Simply print ATF Form 23 double-sided. Depending on the number of “Responsible Persons” on the NFA gun trust, there may be more than one ATF Form 23 to be completed. In other words, each “Responsible Person” on the gun trust needs to complete ATF Form 23. For more information regarding the meaning of the term “Responsible Persons,” please visit https://www.guntrustguru.com/who-is-a-responsible-person-in-a-gun-trust.html.

Two Sets of Documents are Required to be Mailed

Two different sets of documents are required for a complete ATF Form 1 application: (1) the documents mailed to the ATF; and (2) the documents mailed to the CLEO.

  • Documents Mailed to the ATF

All of the documents that comprise a complete ATF Form 1 application that is mailed to the ATF are:

  • one (1) original, double-sided ATF Copy (pages 1-3) of ATF Form 1 (do not staple);
  • one (1) original, double-sided ATF Copy 2 (pages 7-9) of ATF Form 1 (do not staple);
  • one (1) original double-sided ATF Copy (pages 1–2) of ATF Form 23 for each “Responsible Person” of the NFA gun trust (do not staple). Each ATF Copy of ATF Form 23 includes:
    • (a) one (1) 2×2 passport-type photograph (use tape); and
    • (b) two (2) FD-258 fingerprint cards (attach to ATF Form 23 using a paper clip);
  • one (1) single-sided copy of the NFA gun trust (stapled);
  • one (1) single-sided copy of each amendment, if any, to the NFA gun trust (stapled);
  • one (1) single-sided copy of each Appointment of Additional Co-Trustee document, if any, for each Additional Co-Trustee who is still serving (stapled);
  • if building an SBR, SBS, or AOW, one (1) single-sided copy of the Assignment (assigning only the specific non-NFA firearm listed in the ATF Form 1 application); and
  • if paying the $200 manufacturing tax by check, cashier’s check, or money order, also include the check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to “BATFE.” Place it on top of the above documents.

Use a paper clip to hold all of the above documents together and place the complete ATF Form 1 application in a flat envelope. Mail the ATF Form 1 application to the address shown near the top of ATF Form 1, which is currently:

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

  • Documents Mailed to the CLEO(s)

The “Responsible Person” of the gun trust who resides at the Applicant’s address shown in Box 3b of ATF Form 1 must mail the following documents to his or her CLEO shown in Box 10 of ATF Form 1 and Box 5 of ATF Form 23:

  • one (1) original, double-sided CLEO Copy (pages 10-12) of ATF Form 1; and
  • one (1) original double-sided CLEO Copy (pages 3–4) of ATF Form 23.

Each other “Responsible Person” of the gun trust, if any, mails one (1) original double-sided CLEO Copy (pages 3–4) of ATF Form 23 to his or her respective CLEO shown in Box 5 of his or her ATF Form 23.

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