Ways to file the Form 4 NFA
Which way to file your Form 4 NFA Paperwork:
There are generally two different ways people file paperwork for suppressors.
- Individual- Which is just filing in your name.
- Trust- Which is filing in the name of a gun trust.
Which way do you need to file?
If so, you will need to file with a gun trust. You can add and remove co-trustees to your trust as you please. This gives them authority to possess your NFA items without you present.
If so, filing as an Individual is fine. You can still allow other people to possess your NFA items; you will just need to be in the immediate area. When you are not around, your NFA items will need to be locked up securely in a safe at the address on your Form 4 paperwork.
If so, filing with a trust is your best option. You will be able to pass your NFA items down to your heirs when you die, even if they are not in a trust, but the process is a little more complicated.
If so, filing as an individual is your best option. Filing as a trust is a little more complicated and takes a little more work by the ATF. A trust can add as much as 1 month, or even 2 months, to your wait time.
•If using a trust, you can add and remove co-trustees as you please. Since any co-trustee on your trust has to have fingerprints, photos, and a background check done any time you purchase a NFA Item, it is highly recommended to simply remove them as co-trustees. After your paperwork has been pending with the ATF, you can easily add them back with no notification from the ATF. Contrary to what some may tell you, you do not have to wait until your paperwork is approved to add them back. Most trusts, especially Jim Willi’s version, have a very simple and straightforward process for adding and removing co-trustees.
•A well-developed gun trust like GunTrustGuru’s has, in the “add or remove co-trustee” form, a section where you can state an expiration date for the person you are appointing. This is very helpful, especially if you want to give temporary authority to a friend or family member to take your NFA item on a hunting trip. Then, after the expiration date, they are automatically removed, and you can simply tear up the appointment form. If you want to appoint them without an expiration date, you will simply put “N/A”.
•You only have to send a copy of your gun trust to the ATF every two years. What does this mean? Basically, once you purchase an NFA Item and mail your paperwork and trust to the ATF, you have a 2-year window in which you can purchase as many NFA items as you like without having to send another copy of your trust with your paperwork. However, if you have made any changes to your trust in that 2-year window, you will have to send a copy in for the following Form 4 you submit. This is a rolling 2-year window, meaning every time you send a copy of your Trust, the 2-year window starts over. It’s recommended to include a post-it note on the front of your Forms that states, “No changes made on my trust”.
Note: Adding or removing a beneficiary is exempt from being considered a change.
•If your paperwork was filed as an individual, you can still allow people to possess your NFA Items, you will just need to be in the general area. It’s also perfectly ok for your friends or family to be in the same house as the NFA item as long as it’s locked up secured.
•If your paperwork was filed as an individual, and you want to be sure your family gets your NFA items when you die, you will need to clearly define in your Will who will receive your NFA items when you die. Once you die, whoever is heir to your NFA items will need to fill out and submit a Form 5 tax-free application. Once approved (approx. 1-2 months), the heir will be the owner of the NFA items.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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