Let’s face it, the new ATF eforms was super exciting at the beginning. We were all super stoked to be able to apply for either a Form 1 or a Form 4 NFA transfer online. What was even better was the lightning fast turn around – about 3-4 months. Once applications are submitted, I’ve personally seen them come back 90 days to the day. This faster turn around time has been great for the customer, the NFA firearm industry and lawyers like myself.
Notwithstanding the amazing turnaround time, it only takes one time logging onto the ATF site to find that the system is plagued with problems. I dare say that the ATF eforms site is worse than HealthCare.Gov. Having dealt with both, I have a little room for judgement. The ATF eforms site is down for hours on end, there are server errors and the system is just plain slow. I almost detected an ounce of sarcasm from the ATF when they even admitted that it was slow and that they were working with industry “experts” – as if to imply that they are not totally happy with those contractors helping run the system.
So, what’s the NFA tax stamp collector to do when you have this amazing ability to get your stuff faster, but the stupid system won’t let you go through? As I sit here writing, I am checking a Form 4 that I’m working on…watching the rather hypnotic blue wheel turn and turn. Once you finally get logged on, there are a few things that you want to have in order to make the system that much smoother.
Here’s a quick list to help you get your Gun Trust through the eforms system faster:
- Have your gun trust and associated schedules (if applicable) all ready to go prior to filing.
- Scan your trust documents and be sure to downsize the file before applying. I like to use Adobe Acrobat Pro. This keeps your document with nearly the same image quality but a much smaller file size. A smaller file size means a quicker upload.
- Have your Form 4 or Form 1 perfectly filled out prior to filing. Do the same as above by scanning and then downsizing.
- Have your credit card ready to go for payment.
- You will need to upload both your trust documents and a signed copy of the Form 4.
- Get your password handy as you will have to enter the password to get into the system and one last time before the ATF accepts your application. I like to use a word processor document so I can easily copy and paste the password as the password requirements make for a lengthy password and you don’t want to deal with incorrect key strokes as it takes several minutes for the system to process your request.
- Lastly, plan on at least 30 minutes during moderate use times to get the application through. If you have hiccups, it may take an hour.
- Be patient. Don’t hit the refresh button a million times, don’t get click happy, just let the system work. Remember, it is terribly slow so patience is definitely a virtue.