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ATF Form 1 eFile Walkthrough: Death and Taxes

With the focus on short-barreled-everything, we figured it only appropriate to spend a little time talking about the legal process to obtain your very own not-so-long gun. One way is to wait for a regular tax stamp, another is to complete an ATF Form 1 eFile.

Despite the undisputed sex appeal of SBRs, the extraneous red tape required to get one is more than a little intimidating at times. In a rare stroke of common sense, the ATF has established an electronic system for filing some of their NFA-related forms, including the Form 1 “Application to Make and Register a Firearm.” This is the form to use when you are making an SBR yourself. If you’re purchasing a factory-configured SBR, you’ll need to file a Form 4, which is a separate process. It should be noted that “making” a firearm doesn’t require a professional assembly line or QC shop. Slapping a store-bought 10.5-inch AR upper on a lower you already own counts as “making” a firearm. In this case, you’d simply file a Form 1 to get the lower approved to take shorty uppers.

The screenshots you see here were for the registration of the Project JSOK short AK seen elsewhere in this issue. In that case, we obtained a receiver from Petronov Armament on a standard Form 4473. Then, we e-filed a Form 1 for that receiver before building it out. The e-file process itself is surprisingly user-friendly. The website does run a little slow and sometimes requires multiple clicks on something to get it to work. But it does run. Here’s what we had to do to get our Form 1 into the pipeline:

1. Create user profile on the ATF eForms portal
Enter your basic contact info like name, address, and phone number. Then, choose a password. Your username is automatically generated by the system. Once all the required fields are filled in and submitted, you’ll receive an email from ATF with your information.

2. Log in to eForms and select the appropriate form to file
In this case, we’re filing a Form 1, as an individual. There are “special instructions” for individuals, mostly to do with fingerprints.

3. Fill out the digital version of the ATF Form 1 eFile
This consists of several pages’ worth of information, including:

Eligibility Questions: Just like the 4473, there’s a list of questions about your criminal history and citizenship in order to determine eligibility.

List of Responsible Persons: All of the individuals covered by this application. Current policy requires each person being listed to fill out a questionnaire and submit fingerprints. You must also upload a photo of yourself to include with the application.

CLEO Notification: There’s no longer a requirement for the applicant to get permission from their respective chief law enforcement officer (CLEO), but you do have to send a copy to your CLEO for the purpose of notification.

Line Item: You’re required to select or manually enter the make, model, and description of the firearm you intend
to register.

Electronic Documents: Any supporting photos or documents.

4. Pay Tax Stamp
Break out your wallet and fork over your allowance money. Fortunately, the eForms systems allows you to pay with credit card, so you don’t even have to actually have money to get the ball rolling.

ATF Form 1 efile

5. Submit Fingerprint Card
Unfortunately, the eForms system cannot accept fingerprint cards. Once you submit your Form 1, the eForms automated system will generate a cover letter for you to mail in with a standard print card. The cover letter includes your application number so that when you mail everything in to NFA Branch, they know who to match your application up to.

6. Wait
The worst part. At time of writing, the author has heard everything from six days to seven months in terms of
Form 1 lead times. Once the fee is paid and the paperwork is in, your best bet is to find a few other guns to occupy your time until the ATF can run through your application and grant your tax stamp.

ATF Form 1 eFile

That’s it. All in all, the process is a little tedious but, for this first-timer, much less intimidating than initially expected. See the included sidebar for a rundown on engraving requirements.

We even followed up with what engraving the ATF Form 1 eFile requires.


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