How to fill out the ATF Form 23

How to fill out the
ATF Form 23

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Filling out a Form 23 can be really frustrating and confusing even for people that have previously submitted Tax Stamp Applications. That’s why the Trust Shop created this Form 23 instruction guide. The Trust Shop guys are here to make the process of purchasing a SBR, SBS, Silencer, or Machine Gun easy… or at least… a lot easier.

If you got your Gun Trust from the Trust Shop,
you can use our automated Form 23 builder free of charge.

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The following “How to Fill Out a Form 23” Guide is broken down, step-by-step according to the Box # on the ATF’s Form 23 Application. If you are having trouble with a particular Box on the Form 23, you can scroll down to the correspondingly numbered example. It is important to note that this guide only applies to Form 23 Applications being made by a Gun Trust. If you are applying for a Tax Stamp as an individual, you need to read our article: How to Fill out a Form 23 as an Individual.

Boxes 1 & 2

Form 23 Boxes 1&2

Box 1 – Type of Application
This is where you select the type of ATF form this questionnaire is for. If you are manufacturing a SBR or a Silencer, you should checkmark the box next to ATF Form 1. If you are purchasing a Silencer, SBR, or SBS, you should checkmark the box next to ATF Form 4. If you are Applying for a Tax-Exempt Transfer of a Silencer, SBR, or SBS, you should checkmark the box next to ATF Form 5.

Box 2 – Name and Address Transferee
The Transferee is the Gun Trust that is applying for the Tax Stamp. Enter the name of the Gun Trust exactly as it appears on the cover sheet of your Trust Shop NFA Gun Trust. Do not enter your name in this field! Enter the address where the firearm will be stored.   If the firearm will be stored at multiple locations, enter the address where it will be stored the majority of the time

Note: The Transferee’s name and Address should exactly match Box 3b of your Form 1 or Box 2b of your Form 4 or Form 5.

Note: You need to use a physical address.   You can’t use a PO Box Number.

Boxes 3a-d

Form 23 Boxes 3a-d

Box 3a – Name and Home Address of Responsible Person
This is where you enter your name, Not the name of the Gun Trust. Make sure you enter your complete legal name including your Middle Name and Suffix.

Note: If you don’t have a middle name enter “NMN” as your middle name. “NMN” stands for No Middle Name and lets the ATF know that you didn’t accidentally leave out your middle name.

Box 3b – Telephone
Enter the Telephone Number where you can be reached during business hours. This is the number the ATF will call if they have a question about your application.

Box 3c – e-mail address
This field is optional, so it can be left blank. The Trust Shop recommends leaving all optional fields blank, as the more information you enter – the greater the likelihood of making a mistake. Believe it or not, we have heard from people that had their application delayed because of incorrect information that was entered into an “optional” field.

Box 3d – Other names used
Enter any other name that you have used, including maiden name.

Box 3e

Form 23 Boxes 3e

Box 3e – Photograph
Attach a 2-inch by 2-inch frontal view photograph in Box 3e.


  1. You only need to attach a photo to the ATF Copy of the Form 23. You do not attach a photo to the CLEO copy of the Form 23.
  2. The photo must be less than one-year-old.
  3. The photo doesn’t need to be anything special. The guys at the Trust Shop take “Selfies” with their smart phones and the ATF hasn’t ever complained to us.

Box 4

Form 23 Box 4

Box 4a – Type of Firearm
The type of firearm should be one of the following:

  • Silencer
  • SBR or Short-Barreled Rifle
  • SBS or Short-Barreled Shotgun
  • Machine Gun
  • AOW or Any Other Weapon
  • DD or Destructive Device

Note: Box 4a of your Form 23 should exactly match Box 4b of your Form 1, Form 4, or Form 5.

Form 23 Box 4
Box 4b – Name and Address of Maker
Enter the name and address of the manufacturer of your NFA item. The information should exactly match Box 4a of your Form 1, Form 4, or Form 5.

In the Silencer example above we used Todd’s SureFire SOCOM556RC and found SureFire’s information in just a few seconds using a google web search. However, when we googled the manufacturer of the Colt SBR in the second example, we encountered a problem. The SBR has “COLT’S MFG CO INC” engraved on the lower receiver. The name and Address for Colt Manufacturing seemed easy to find, but one of the guys noticed the manufacturer’s name was shown as COLT’S MFG CO LLC, rather than INC. Turns out Colt has merged half a dozen times, filed bankruptcy, and changed their address twice. It took a while, but we finally found the contact info for the older, defunct INC company. This is the kind of simle mistake that can cause an application to be delayed.

The moral of the story is that you need to be extremely careful and thorough when entering the information on your ATF Forms. Had we not discovered the discrepancy (if we were actually submitting a Form 1 or Form 4 for the SBR), the ATF probably would have Denied or Delayed the application. Waiting 10 months for a Tax Stamp is bad enough, just think how bad it would be if you got Denied or Delayed.

Box 4c – Firearm Model
The information you enter in Box 4c of your Form 23 should exactly match Box 4d of your Form 1, Form 4, or Form 5.

Box 4d – Caliber or Gauge
The information you enter in Box 4d of your Form 23 should exactly match Box 4c of your Form 1, Form 4, or Form 5.

Box 4e – Firearm Serial Number
Every NFA item is required to have a serial number. Enter the complete serial number in this field, including dashes and dots exactly as they appear on the NFA item. This information you enter in Box 4e should exactly match Box 4g of your Form 1, Form 4, or Form 5.

Note: If you are building a SBR using an 80% complete lower receiver, you must assign a serial number and engrave it on the lower receiver. Likewise, if you are building a silencer from scratch, you must assign and engrave a serial number on the tube of the silencer. The guidelines on engraving can be found here in the Federal Regulations on Firearms Identification

Box 5

Form 23 Box 5

Box 5 – Law Enforcement Notification
With the implementation of 41F, you are required to send a copy of your Form 23 Questionnaire to your Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO). Box 5 of your Form 23 is where you enter your CLEO’s contact information. Remember: you do not need to get the CLEO’s signature, you only need to send them a copy of the Form 23.

You need to enter three pieces of information in Box 5:
1. The name of your CLEO’s Agency.
2. The name and title of your CLEO.
3. The address of your CLEO.

Note: Every Responsible Person is required to send the CLEO copy (pages 3 & 4) of their Form 23 to the CLEO of the jurisdiction where the Responsible Person resides.

Boxes 6 – 8

Form 23 Boxes 6-8

Box 6 & 7 – Yes & No Questions
Each Responsible Person must answer all of the questions with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. These questions are to be answered as they apply to the person, not the Gun Trust.

Box 8 – Signature & Date
You must sign in Box 8 as an individual, not at the Trustee. This is the only place you sign your name without adding “as Trustee.” Finish your Form 23 by entering the date.

And now your Form 23 is complete!

In all, the Form 23 includes of two copies of the 2-page form we just discussed, and two pages of directions, for a total of 6 pages. You will send one copy of the form to the ATF. The second copy is for you to send to your CLEO. Because the two copies of the Form 23 are identical (except for a few items not included in the CLEO copy) you can use the ATF interactive Form 23 and you only have to enter the information once. The 2nd copy is automatically populated with the information from the 1st copy.

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