The complete guide to the new Form 4


This guide will walk you through every step of the post-41F Form 4 process and make it as easy as possible.  The fields referenced are based upon the September 2019 revision of the Form 4.  As new revisions of the form are released, I will update this guide.

Getting Started

In almost all cases the dealer you are buying the NFA item from will already have the Form 4s with their portion completed before you arrive.  So I will only focus on those fields that need to be completed by the transferee (buyer).

FFL PRO-TIP:  If you do need a copy of the new Form 4, it is available for download from the ATF website.  If you save it to your computer and open it with Adobe Reader (rather than editing it in your browser) then it will auto-copy the data you type into the ‘ATF Copy’ to the ‘ATF Copy 2’ and the ‘CLEO Copy’.  You can also save a copy with your FFL info typed in to speed up the processing of future applications.

Form 4 – Page 1

  • Box 2a should contain the name of your trust (exactly as it appears on the header of the trust document) and the mailing address for the location where the item will initially be stored.
  • In Box 2a you should also check the box for TRUST.
  • Box 2b should contain the name of the county in which the physical address from 2a is located.  Note: Virginia is one of the few states where there are independent cities that are not part of the surrounding counties. If you live in an independent city (like Alexandria for example) then put your city in 2b (e.g.  “Alexandria City”).

Form 4 – Page 2

  • Box 12 should contain the information about the applicants CLEO.
  • Box 13 should have the name of the trust in the first blank and ‘all lawful purposes‘ in the second blank.
  • Box 14, 15, 16, and 17 should be left blank.  For trust applicants, these background questions and photos will be part of a separate form for each ‘responsible person’ (Form 23) for which I will provide instructions further down in this guide.

Form 4 – Page 3

  • Box 21 should contain the number of responsible persons on the trust.  I have a detailed article here laying out which persons on your trust are considered ‘responsible persons’ but the short answer is that you are a responsible person and so are those people listed on Schedule B of your trust.  If you want to remove joint trustees from your Schedule B before submitting your application I have a guide to doing so here.
  • Box 22 should contain your full legal name and the full legal names of all those on Schedule B of your trust.
  • Box 23 should contain your method of payment and, if you are paying with a credit card, the information about the credit card and the amount being paid.  You only need to sign in Box 20 if you are paying with a credit card.  (More about this in the signing section below)

A Completed Sample of Form 4

The following sample form illustrates what a completed Form 4 should look like.

Download (PDF, 1.75MB)

Signing the Completed Form 4

Each copy of the completed Form 4 should be signed in the following places:

  • On the top of Page 3 sign your name and add “as trustee” at the end.
  • Only sign on Page 3 Box 23 if you are paying with a credit card.

Important:  The ATF requires all signatures to be in either blue or black ink.

Turning to the Form 23

I have a comprehensive guide to the Form 23 here.

Notifying Your CLEO

The Settlor of the trust will need to mail his or her CLEO (from the Form 23) the CLEO copy of the Form 4 and the CLEO copy of their Form 23.

All other responsible persons will only need to mail his or her CLEO (from their Form 23) the CLEO copy of their Form 23.

Important Note:  The CLEO copy of the Form 23 does not have a photo affixed.  You should also not send fingerprint cards to the CLEO.

Fingerprint Cards

Each Form 23 to be sent to the ATF will need to be accompanied by fingerprints of the responsible person taken on 2 FBI (FD-258) fingerprint cards.  As I noted here, many NFA dealers offer in-store fingerprinting so you should check with your local gun store.  Failing that, you should be able to get fingerprinted at your local law enforcement agency.  No matter who does the fingerprinting, you should make sure that they use the correct FD-258 cards.

Mailing the Completed Form 4 Packet to the ATF

Now we need to prepare the packet to mail to the ATF.  Note that If you are building more than one NFA item, you will need a separate packet for each item.

This packet should include:

  • The first 2 copies of the completed Form 4 with original signatures in blue or black ink on both copies.  (These are marked ATF Copy and ATF Copy 2 on the bottom of the forms)
  • The ATF Copy of the Form 23 for each responsible person of the trust with photos affixed and fingerprint cards included. (DO NOT STAPLE)
  • A single copy of your notarized trust instrument (including all schedules and amendments)
  • Payment for the amount of the tax ($200) payable to BATFE (unless you entered credit card info on the Form 4)

The entire packet should be mailed to:

National Firearms Act Division
Bureau of ATF
PO Box 5015
Portland, OR 97208-5015

If this guide leaves any questions unanswered, please feel free to contact me.

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