How to Fill Out ATF Form 4 to Transfer an NFA Firearm

The Gun Collective
The Gun Collective

USA – -( Welcome back to The Legal Brief, the show where we CRUSH the various legal myths and misinformation surrounding various areas of the gun world. I’m your host Adam Kraut and today we are going to walk you through, step by step, and show you guys how to fill out a Form 4 to transfer an NFA firearm.

A few preliminary things before we get started. There is a slight difference in the way a Form 4 is filled out depending upon whether the firearm is being transferred to an individual or a legal entity, like a trust. If it is being transferred to a legal entity, you’ll also need to download and have each responsible person complete the responsible person questionnaire.

Just like last time, if you’re confused about what a responsible person is, go check out the video on ATF 41F here. Links to the forms are in the description, but you should check to make sure you are using the most up to date version of the form, as they do change from time to time. There is also a link to the Silencer Shop Form 4 Generator which places a barcode on the form to help ATF process them faster. If you’re curious about that barcode, I covered that in a different episode which you can find in the description.

ATF Form 4 to Transfer an NFA Firearm

Ok, now, let’s get started.

Pro Tip: You’ll want to fill out the form on the computer if possible. This allows ATF to efficiently enter the information rather than having to decode your handwriting. If you can use that Form 4 generator I spoke of a minute ago, do that.

In box 1 you’ll place a check next to $200, assuming you are transferring a machine gun, silencer, short barreled rifle, short barrel shotgun or destructive device. If you’re transferring an AOW, place a check next to the $5. In box 2a, you’ll place a check next to individual, if you are transferring the firearm to an individual OR a check next to trust or legal entity if its being transferred to a legal entity. Either way, you’re only checking one of those selections.

You’ll also include the name and address of the person whom the firearm is being transferred to OR the legal entity’s name and address in box 2a. Box 2b is the county where the individual resides or trust is located.

Pro Tip: Most of the information that is required on the form can be found on the already approved Form 1, Form 3 or Form 4 that you should have for the firearm you’re transferring.

Box 3a is the name of the transferor, that is the person whom the firearm is currently registered to. 3b is the transferor’s email address, which is optional and box 3c is the transferor’s phone number. 3d is used in the event that the firearm is being transferred from an estate. That box would have the information of the individual who died, also known as the decedent. Note, that a Form 4 is only used to transfer an NFA firearm from an estate to another person or entity, if that person or entity was not named as the beneficiary or recipient of those firearms by the decedent either in a will, trust or by operation of law.

You can skip box 3e. Moving onto Box 4, this is where the firearm information is located. All of this information is going to be on that approved Form 1, 3, or 4 that is for that firearm. I’d copy this information directly off of that form to ensure that you don’t have any issues with the NFA branch processing the form.

Pro tip: If you find discrepancies between what is listed on the form and what is actually on the firearm itself, the ATF requests that you contact the NFA Branch regarding those differences.

Boxes 5 through 8 only apply if a licensee is involved in the transaction. If so, their FFL and SOT information can be added in the appropriate fields. Box 9 is the signature of the person transferring the firearm, Box 10 is their name and title, such as president, trustee, etc., if they have one, and Box 11 is the date.

Box 12 is the information of your chief law enforcement officer, where you’ll send the CLEO copy of the Form 4 to. I use my county sheriff.

The first empty space in Box 13 would be the name and title, if any, of the person that the firearm is being transferred to. The second empty space, I advise you to put “all lawful purposes.” This is the safest answer to give and covers a wide array of activities.

Boxes 14 through 17 are not to be completed by a legal entity. They will pick up with the Responsible Person Questionnaire. Just note, there are some questions on there that will require the same information that you’ve already completed on the Form 4, such as the name and address of the applicant, which is the legal entity, the firearm information, and the CLEO information.

Pro Tip: The CLEO for the Responsible Persons MAY be different than that of the CLEO for the legal entity if they reside in a different area. For example, if the entity is located in one county, let’s say chester county and the responsible person in another, lets say lancaster county and you are sending the CLEO notification to the county sheriff, the CLEO will be different on the Form 4 and the RP Questionnaire since the entity and RP reside in different counties.

Complete Boxes 14-17 on the Form 4, if filling out the form as an individual, otherwise complete page two on the Responsible Person Questionnaire. These questions are very similar to those on the 4473 that you’re likely familiar with. You’ll also need to affix a passport photo to the form or questionnaire. After completing the questions you’ll sign and date.

On the Form 4, if it is being submitted for an individual skip Boxes 18 and 19. If you’re using a legal entity, put the number of responsible persons for your legal entity in Box 18 and list them by name in Box 19. You’ll need to ensure you have completed responsible person questionnaires for each RP listed when you submit the application.

Box 20 is where you select your method of payment.

Pro Tip: I always suggest check or money order. There have been numerous instances where the credit card information has been input incorrectly and resulted in a form being rejected.

A couple of other important things. The forms are labeled at the bottom as to which go where. Two copies of the Form 4 go to ATF and one to the CLEO. A copy of the RP Questionnaire goes to ATF and a copy goes to the CLEO. Don’t forget to affix the passport photo to the Form 4 or RP Questionnaire. Do not use staples to do it. You’ll also need to include two copies of your fingerprint cards in the ATF mailing.

If you’re using a legal entity, you’ll need to include a COPY of the documentation of it, for example a copy of the trust itself. Then mail the stuff to ATF at the address located at the top of the Form 4 and start your wait.

Alright, let’s recap. Once you’ve filled out your form you’ll need to mail ATF a few things. If you did it as an individual, you’ll send two copies of the Form 4 which have a passport photo affixed to the form, two fingerprint cards, and a check for $200 if you’re not using a credit card. You’ll need to send your CLEO a copy of the Form 4. Make sure you’ve signed the form in boxes 9, 17 and 20.

If you did it as a legal entity, you’ll send two copies of the Form 4, a copy of the RP Questionnaire for each RP with have a passport photo affixed to the form, two fingerprint cards for each RP and a check for $200 if you’re not using a credit card. A copy of the Form 4 goes to the CLEO where the legal entity is located and a copy of each RP questionnaire goes to the CLEO where the RP resides. Make sure you’ve signed the form in boxes 9, 20 and on the RP Questionnaire.

ATF Form 4 to Transfer an NFA Firearm
ATF Form 4 to Transfer an NFA Firearm

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And as always thanks for watching!

Links for this episode:


ATF Form 4 Application For Tax Paid Transfer And Registration


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Note that the current form 4 is dated “Revised September 2017” on the bottom-right corner, and the bottom-left corner says “Previous Editions are obsolete”. I found one of my local dealers using an older version. They are a low-volume seller, but I wonder if those submitted on the old form will eventually get kicked-back for a re-do. I’ll also mention that of the local dealers who would answer the question, all told me they are just making copies of the ATF form for the CLEO notifications vs. using the dedicated CLEO section of the form. Each told me there was… Read more »