How to fill out the ATF Form 4

How to fill out the
ATF Form 4

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If you got your Gun Trust from the Trust Shop, there isn’t any reason for you to read this “How To” guide.   That’s because you have access to the Automated Form 4 Generator that walks you through the Form 4 process and automatically creates a Barcoded Form 4 that is ready to be submitted to the ATF.   For those of you that didn’t get your Gun Trust from us, the Trust Shop is 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 4 builder free of charge.

Form 4 Generator

The following “How to Fill Out a Form 4” Guide is broken down, step-by-step according to the Box # on the ATF’s Form 4 Application.   If you are having trouble with a particular Box on the Form 4, you can scroll down to the correspondingly numbered example.   It is important to note that this guide only applies to Form 4 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 4 as an Individual.

Boxes 1 & 2

Form 4 Boxes 1&2

Box 1 – Type of Transfer
You should checkmark the box next to the amount of your application fee.   Checkmark the box next to “$200” if you are purchasing a SBR, SBS, Silencer, or Machine Gun.   Checkmark the box next to “$5” if you are purchasing an AOW (Any Other Weapon).

Box 2a – Transferee’s Name and Address
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.

Box 2b – County
This seems fairly straight forward, but the ATF rejects a lot of applications based on incorrect entries in this field.   Do not enter the name of your COUNTRY! If you enter USA or United States, your application will be Delayed or Denied.

Alaska residents: enter the name of your Borough
Louisiana residents: enter the name of your Parish
Virginia residents: if you live in an independent city, enter the name of your city.

Box 2 – Trust or Legal Entity
Don’t forget to checkmark the box next to “Trust or Legal Entity.”   It is important to note that this guide is designed to help people that are filling out a Form 4 in the name of their Gun Trust.   This “How To” guide doesn’t apply to people applying for Tax Stamps as individuals.

Box 3

Form 4 Box 3

Box 3a – Transferor’s Name and Address

The Transferor is the gun store (*FFL SOT) where you are purchasing your NFA item. Enter the gun dealer’s name and address exactly as they appear on their Federal Firearms License.

Box 3b – e-mail address
The Transferor’s email address is optional, so leave this one blank.   As a rule-of-thumb, give the ATF the least amount of information possible.   We have talked to people that had their Form 4 delayed because of a mistake on something they entered in an optional field.   Remember: the less stuff you enter on your Form 4, the less likely it is that you make a mistake.

Box 3c – Transferor’s Telephone
Enter the telephone number of your FFL SOT dealer here.

Box 3d – Decedent’s Name, Address, and Date of Death
Leave this field blank. This box is only used if an NFA item is being transferred from a deceased person’s estate.

Box 3e – Alternate Business Address
If the FFL SOT dealer conducts business at an address that is different from the address listed on their FFL (Box 3a), enter that alternate business address here.


Your FFL SOT dealer may enter the information in Boxes 3a-e for you. It’s fine if they do this, but remember that you are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of all the information on the Form 4.   Ask your dealer for a copy of their FFL so that you can verify any information they entered on the Form.

*FFL SOT stands for Federal Firearms License – Special Occupation Tax (aka ‘Class 3’ or ‘Dealer of NFA Firearms’)

Box 4

Form 4 Box 4 SBR

Form 4 Box 4 Silencer

Box 4a – Name and Address of Maker, Manufacturer and/or
Importer of Firearm

Enter the name and address of the manufacturer of your NFA item.  In one of the examples above, we used SureFire as the manufacturer and found their information in just a few seconds with a google web search.   However, when we googled the manufacturer of our SBR we hit a SNAFU.   The SBR we used for the example (sitting right here in the trust Shop office) has COLT’S MFG CO INC engraved on the lower receiver.   We thought we found the information right off the bat, but one of the guys noticed the manufacturer was shown as COLT’S MFG CO LLC.   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 correct contact info.

The moral of the story is that you need to be extremely careful and thorough when entering information on your Form 4.   Had we not discovered the discrepency (if we were actually submitting a Form 4 for the SBR), the ATF would have likely 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 4b – Type of Firearm
The type of firearm should be one of the following:
SBR or Short-Barreled Rifle
SBS or Short-Barreled Shotgun
Machine Gun
AOW or Any Other Weapon
DD or Destructive Device

The ATF says you can use either “Muffler” or “Silencer” but you may NOT use the term “Suppressor.”
This is usually where people get into an argument about whether the correct name is Suppressor or Silencer.   If you really really need to know which term is correct, you can click here to read ‘The Trust Shop Truth – Silencer or Suppressor.‘   In the meantime, we recommend following the ATF guidelines, even if you don’t agree with them.

Box 4c – Caliber or Gauge
Enter either the Caliber or Gauge in this field.   For example: 7.62 mm, .308, .308 cal, and 12 Gauge are all acceptable formats.

Note: If you have a caliber like 6.5mm Creedmoor you should list it as 6.5 mm. Do not add “Creedmoor” to the end of the caliber designation.

If you are applying for a NFA item that has multiple calibers, you should list only one caliber in Box 4c. You can list the additional calibers in Box 4h.

Box 4d – Model
Distinguishing the “Model” on certain NFA items can be a bit confusing.   Some NFA items don’t have a model, and other models include numbers (as part of the model) corresponding to the caliber.   Make sure you get the correct model listed in Box 4d.

Box 4e – Length of Barrel
According to the ATF, the length of the barrel is measured by inserting a dowel rod into the barrel until the rod stops against the bolt or breech-face. The rod is then marked at the furthermost end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device, withdrawn from the barrel, and measured.

If you are applying for a Silencer you should leave this field blank.

Box 4f – Overall Length
According to the ATF, the overall length of a firearm is the distance between the muzzle of the barrel and the rearmost portion of the weapon measured on a line parallel to the axis of the bore.
If you are applying for a Silencer, enter the length of the silencer as listed in the manufacturer’s specification sheet.

Box 4g – 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.

Box 4h – Additional Description or Data Appearing on Firearm
Most of the time you won’t put anything in this field.   However, if your firearm has any other numbers or additional identifying information, you can enter it here.   If you look back to our SBR example you will see that we added ‘Match Target’ to this field, as those words are engraved on the lower receiver.   Additionally, you can use this field to list additional calibers for your NFA item.

Boxes 5 – 8

Form 4 Boxes 5,6,7 & 8

Box 5 – Transferee’s Federal Firearms License
Because you are using a Gun Trust to purchase your NFA item, leave this field blank.

We get a lot of questions about Box 5 from people that have a Federal Firearms License.   They want to know if they need to enter their FFL # in this box.   The answer is No.   Even if you have a FFL it shouldn’t be entered here, because you are not the Transferee for this tax stamp… The Transferee is your Gun Trust.

Box 6 – Transferee’s Special Occupational Tax Status
Only FFL’s can have a Special Occupational Tax (SOT).   Because you are using a Gun Trust to purchase your NFA item, leave both 6a and 6b blank.   Just like the FFL (above), even if you have a SOT it shouldn’t be entered here.   Remember, your Gun Trust is the Transferee… not you.

Box 7 – Transferor’s Federal Firearms License
The Transferor is the seller (gun shop) where you are purchasing your NFA item.   The gun shop might automatically enter this information for you.   However, you need to verify the accuracy of the information, as you are ultimately responsible for all of the information entered on your Form 4.

We have heard from a lot of people that had their Form 4 delayed or denied because of inaccurate information that was entered onto the application by the gun dealer.   You must verify the accuracy of all information on your Form 4, regardless of who entered the info.

If you own an NFA item under a FFL and you want to transfer the item into your Gun trust, you will enter your FFL # here.

Box 8 – Transferor’s Special Occupational Tax Status
In Box 8a enter the Gun Dealer’s Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number (SSN). In Box 8b enter the class of the Gun Dealer’s Special Occupational Tax (SOT), if applicable.   In most cases the 8b should indicate: “Class 03 Dealer of NFA Firearms” or “Class 3.”

If you own an NFA item as an individual and you want to transfer the item into your Gun trust, you will enter your SSN in Box 8a.   And, because you own it as an individual, you won’t put anything in Box 8b.

Boxes 9 – 11

Form 4 Boxes 9 - 11

Box 9 – Signature of Transferor
This is where the seller signs the Form 4.   This field must be completed by the Gun Dealer.   If you are purchasing the NFA item from an estate, the Executor or Personal Representative for the estate will sign here.

Box 10 – Name and Title of Authorized Official
The name and title of the individual that works for the Seller should be entered in Box 10.   If the seller enters this information, make sure they use their name not the company name.   Additionally, make sure they indicate their title (Manager, Owner, Associate, etc.)

If you look above at our example Form 4, you will see Box 3a has the Gun Dealer’s name Guns R Us, but Box 10 has John Doe as the “Authorized Official” and lists Owner as his title.

Box 11 – Date
This is where the seller dates the Form 4.   This field must be completed by the Gun Dealer.

Area for ATF

Space for ATF Decision

At the bottom of Page 1 of your Form 4, you will see a section that says: “The Space Below is for the use of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.”   Do not enter anything in this area.

Box 12

Form 4 Box 12

Box 12 – Law Enforcement Notification

With the implementation of 41F, you are required to send a copy of your Form 4 Application to your Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO).   Box 12 is where you enter the information about your CLEO.   Remember: you do not need to get the CLEO’s signature, you only need to send them a copy of the Form 4.   After we get done with the Form 4, we will cover which documents need to be sent to which people.

You need to enter three pieces of information in Box 12:
1.   The name of your CLEO’s Agency.
2.   The name and title of your CLEO.
3.   The address of your CLEO.

Box 13

Form 4 Box 13

Box 13 – Transferee Necessity Statement
The 1st piece of information you need to enter into Box 13 is the Transferee’s Name.   Remember: you are not the Transferee, rather your Gun Trust is the Transferee.   So, enter the name of your Gun trust in the 1st blank space.   2nd, you need to enter the reason you need to acquire the NFA item.   There has been a lot of discussion in the legal community concerning the Transferee’s Reason for acquiring the NFA item (especially in North Carolina).   However, the general consensus is that the only appropriate answer for the 2nd blank of Box 13 is: All Lawful Purposes.

Boxes 14 – 17

Form 4 Boxes 14-17

Boxes 14, 15, 16 & 17 – Transferee Questions
These boxes should be left blank, as you are applying for your Tax Stamp as a Trust.   But, don’t celebrate just yet… You (and all other Responsible Persons) will be answering all of the same information later on your Form 5320.23 (aka Form 23) – National Firearms Act (NFA) Responsible Person Questionnaire.

Certification Block

Form 4 Certification

Your Certification
Sign your name not the name of the Trust, immediately followed by the words as Trustee.   You can look at the picture above to see what the signature block should look like.   Then enter the date on the 2nd blank line.

Box 18

Form 4 Box 18

Box 18 – Number of Responsible Persons
Enter the number of Responsible Persons (including yourself) in Box 18.   If you aren’t sure which people in your Gun trust are considered Responsible Persons, you can check out our article Who is a Responsible Person & Why does it matter?

If you filled out a Form 4 in the past you may not have been required to fill out the Responsible Person section.   That’s because ATF Final Rule 41F went into effect On July 13, 2016, which requires all Responsible Persons to submit a Form 23 (along with mugshots & fingerprints).

Box 19

Form 4 Box 19

Box 19 – Full Name of Each Responsible Person
For each of the Responsible Persons (including yourself), enter their full legal name (first, middle & last).   If a Responsible Person doesn’t have a Middle Name, you can enter “NMN” between their first and last name.

Box 20

Form 4 Box 20

Box 20 – Method of Payment
Check the appropriate box for the type of payment you are submitting.   If you are paying by check, Cashier’s Check, or Money Order, you don’t need to fill out anything else in Box 20.   If you are paying by Credit card, you will need to fill in the remaining fields concerning billing information.   Remember: You only need to sign Box 20 if you are paying by Credit Card.

Remember: if you submit any information incorrectly, your Application will be delayed or denied.   This is one of the reasons we suggest sending a check or money order instead of paying with a credit card.   There are just too many chances to make a mistake when entering all those credit card numbers.

And now your Form 4 is complete!

In all, the Form 4 includes of three copies of the 3-page form we just discussed, and three pages of directions, for a total of 12 pages.   You will send two copies of the form to the ATF.   The ATF will keep one copy on file and return one copy to you that has your Tax Stamp affixed to the front page.   The third copy is for you to send to your CLEO. Because the three copies of the Form 4 are identical (except for a few items not included in the CLEO copy) you can use the ATF interactive Form 4 and you only have to enter the information once. The 2nd and 3rd copies are automatically populated with the information from the 1st copy.

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