How Long Does a Suppressor Tax Stamp Last?
The good news is that a suppressor tax stamp lasts forever. Once you buy a stamp for a suppressor, it is valid for however long you own the suppressor. It’s not an annual thing; it’s a one-and-done. That stamp belongs to you and your suppressor forever.
The bad news is that you can’t just plunk down $200 for a stamp, grab your suppressor and head to the range. Because of the National Firearms Act of 1934 (or NFA for short), there are a few extra steps you’ll need to take to get a suppressor tax stamp as well as situations where a suppressor will need another tax stamp.
Read on as we walk you through the process.
Why Do I Need a Suppressor Tax Stamp?
You need a suppressor tax stamp because of the National Firearms Act of 1934 (or NFA for short) that we briefly mentioned above. It is the Federal law that pertains to suppressors as well as a variety of other items.
The NFA made possession of a suppressor without a valid tax stamp illegal, and it can result in serious fines and prison sentences if you break that law.
NFA Items Require Tax Stamps
The NFA regulates the ownership, transfer, and manufacture of suppressors and specific firearms, such as machine guns, short barrel rifles, short barrel shotguns, and destructive devices. Buying such NFA items requires paying for a federal tax stamp and seeking approval from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
The government’s logic behind passing the law was that making NFA items harder to buy and more expensive would reduce their use in criminal activities. (Remember: when the law was passed, it was at the height of the gangster era.) Of course, since criminals don’t obey the law, it’s a moot point, but nonetheless, the law remains in effect.
How Long Will My Suppressor Tax Stamp Last?
Suppressor tax stamps last forever. That stamp is linked to you and the suppressor it was issued for until you sell it or die.
That said, you need a tax stamp for each suppressor that you own. Even though the stamp lasts for the lifetime of your ownership of said suppressor, it does not apply to multiple suppressors. If you want to buy five suppressors, then you’ll fill out five applications and pay for five stamps.
Do I Need a Tax Stamp for a Suppressor Someone Gave Me?
Even though a tax stamp is good forever doesn’t mean that it’s good for everyone forever. A tax stamp that was issued to the previous person who owned a suppressor is not valid for you to use as the new owner. This means that you need a new tax stamp for a suppressor that someone either gives to you or you inherit.
The process for how this works depends on how the suppressor was initially purchased – as an individual or in a trust – and failure to complete the proper paperwork and obtain a new tax stamp is illegal.
NFA Gun Trust
If a suppressor is purchased with an NFA gun trust, then the legal owner of it is technically the trust itself and not a single person. Instead, the people named in the trust are the trustees and they can use the suppressor even if the primary responsible person on the trust has passed away.
On the other hand, if a suppressor is purchased by an individual, then the person who has been left the suppressor in a will or by an estate will have to go through the entire NFA application and approval process like they were buying a new suppressor for the first time. The only difference is that the tax stamp for this process is free.
Buying a Suppressor Tax Stamp
A suppressor tax stamp is purchased as part of the initial suppressor purchase process. You cannot legally own or possess a suppressor without first having the approved suppressor tax stamp in your possession.
There are two ways you can get a suppressor tax stamp. The first is through a Form 1, which is what you use when you plan on building your own suppressor.
The other more common way is through a Form 4, which is what you use when you plan on buying an already-made suppressor from a company or a dealer like Silencer Central.
Buying a Tax Stamp Through Silencer Central
Purchasing a silencer tax stamp through Silencer Central is the easiest way to get one. The stamp purchase is done when you pick out which suppressor you want to buy. If you’re unsure about that part, we can help with that, too.
Then, once you decide which suppressor you want, we handle absolutely all of your paperwork for you and the entire process is done without you ever needing to leave your house.
We know that suppressors are a significant investment of your money and that it can be a lot to plunk down all at once. That’s why we offer an E-Z Pay plan where we submit your paperwork to the ATF with just 25% down and you can pay the rest off while you wait for approval. When you stamp comes back, we’ll mail your suppressor right to your front door. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
When Will I Get My Suppressor Tax Stamp?
You’ll get your suppressor tax stamp, and then your suppressor, once your application for the stamp has been approved by the NFA Branch of the ATF.
Exactly how long that will take isn’t something that can be answered by anyone with any degree of absolute certainty. At the time of writing, the average wait time is anywhere between six and nine months.
This can vary depending on how you purchased your suppressor (individual or trust) and how you submitted your paperwork (paper or e-File). Generally speaking, e-File is faster than paper for obvious reasons.
To get the status of your transfer from the ATF, call the NFA Branch directly at: (304) 616-4500.
You will need to provide your name (or the name of your trust or corporation), the serial number of the suppressor, and the name of the transferor. For the transferor information, please use the name we sent you in the confirmation email when your electronic transfer was submitted. ATF will confirm you are in the system and will give you an estimate for when to expect the approval. Remember, they don’t know exactly when your transfer will be approved – it is just an estimate.
Get Ahead of the Wait –Shop Silencer Central Today!
The fastest way to get your suppressor is to buy one today.
At Silencer Central, we are passionate about compliance, knowledge, and community education in firearm sound suppression. With almost 20 years’ experience in the industry, we are the nation’s largest silencer dealer. We’re also the only one licensed in all 42 suppressor-legal states that can sell, process, and ship your new suppressor directly to your front door.
Don’t delay any longer. Get ahold of us today and start the process of buying a suppressor tax stamp and a suppressor right now!