MARTINSBURG, VA -(Ammoland.com)- Last December, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) launched the new eForm system to modernize the NFA division procedures in processing tax-paid submissions.
According to information supplied to AmmoLand News from Orchard Advisors, the system seems to be working.
The ATF intended the new eForms system to replace the old paper system that the Bureau used to process tax stamps applications. The ATF claimed the new system would speed up the time it takes for the National Firearms Act (NFA) to issue tax stamps. Before eForms, it would take the ATF nearly a year to issue tax stamps. The goal of eForms was to cut this wait time to 90 days or less.
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The eForm system is processing tax stamp applications have seen a higher and faster rate than the old paper form system that required the applicant to mail in the application. Since the launch of eForms, the ATF has received over 671,000 applications of all types. Since December 23, the ATF reports that 118,000 tax-paid submissions are pending, with over 10,000 eForm 4s processed.
The ATF seems to be keeping its promise of reducing wait times for NFA items. The ATF has hit the 90-day goal on 30% of processed tax-paid forms.
These processing times would be impossible under the old paper system. It is rare for the ATF to get praise from the firearms industry, but the silencer industry seems pleased with the new system’s speed, although most in the gun world would like to see silencers removed from the NFA.
Suppressor retailers have verified that tax stamps are being issued faster than before the new ATF system came online. Silencer Shop is the largest seller of suppressors across the country. They have kiosk in gun shops across the country. The company says the times for tax stamps have dropped dramatically.
“The right to bear arms is important to millions of Americans, and getting NFA items such as suppressors and SBRs to them easily is important at Silencer Shop,” said Dave Matheny, CEO of Silencer Shop.
“ATF eForm 4s Powered By Silencer Shop are extremely beneficial for firearms owners: what previously took an average of 10 months in 2021 is being approved by the ATF in 90 days in 2022. We’ve even processed an expedited eForm 4 that was approved in 2 days. Throughout the United States, people say: they want a suppressor, but the older system which was based on paper applications and potentially year-long ATF wait times were holding them back. But with Silencer Shop’s simple electronic Form 4 processing, we’ve lifted that barrier and the positive feedback has been tremendous, as people have already started receiving their silencers in about 3 months.”
NFA item owners seem to really like the system. The ATF reports a 93% reduction in submitted paper forms.
This mass adoption of the new eForm system has allowed the NFA division to process the 180,000-application backlog of paper forms faster. The ATF processed 90,000 tax-paid paper applications in the last four months alone. As the backlog thins, it will allow the ATF to shift resources to the new eForm system, which will cut the wait times even more.
The speed in processing tax-paid submissions is due to the ATF’s leveraging of modern technology. A new computer system has replaced the old clunky NFA processing system to automate many of the procedures that the ATF handled manually. The ATF is still improving the new system since it launched in December. There have been over 200 system modifications and improvements since coming online.
One of the most significant improvements is the elimination of “ATF Wednesdays.” The Bureau used to take the system offline on Wednesdays preventing the system from being accessed by the public. There will be no planned maintenances during any day of the workweek. If maintenance to the system is needed, it will be done on the Saturday following the second Tuesday of the month. The window will run from 6 pm EDT Saturday to 6 am EDT Sunday. Less downtime during the week will allow businesses and individuals more time to submit their applications.
These changes to how the ATF handles tax stamps are a welcome and long-overdue change. Even though this is an improvement, The ultimate goal for gun rights activists when it comes to tax stamps will be the elimination of the NFA.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.