Silencer Laws
How to Get a Suppressor Tax Stamp

How to Get a Suppressor Tax Stamp

How to Get a Suppressor Tax Stamp

If you’re new to the world of suppressors, then you’ve probably heard different bits and pieces about the buying process, which includes a tax stamp. Naturally, that probably led you to wonder how, exactly, to get a suppressor tax stamp. Well, it isn’t that difficult, but like all things involving the ATF, it can be stressful if you don’t fully understand the method behind the madness. There’s a lot of misinformation and confusion out there, too, especially when people talk about ATF Form 1 vs Form 4 suppressors, trust vs individual registration, paper vs eFile, and more.

Knowing how to get a tax stamp for a suppressor is half the battle. Getting the suppressor itself is the other half, especially when you consider how long it can take to get a suppressor tax stamp. So, let’s take a closer look!


For starters, a tax stamp isn’t just for suppressors. You need one for all National Firearms Act (NFA) items, which also includes machine guns, short barrel rifles, and short barrel shotguns. The need for the stamp dates back to 1934 with the passage of the NFA, which put the aforementioned items under strict federal regulatory control of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE), or, more commonly, ATF.


The answer to whether or not you need a tax stamp for a suppressor, machine gun, short barrel rifle, or short barrel shotgun is yes. You absolutely need a tax stamp in order to own one of those items. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying one from a dealer or making one yourself, you have to get a tax stamp. (With the exception of a machine gun. You can buy one with a stamp, but you absolutely cannot make them under any circumstances, tax stamp or not.)


There are two ways to get a suppressor tax stamp. The first way is to buy a ready-made suppressor on an ATF Form 4. This means you are buying a suppressor from an FFL dealer or manufacturer who is selling a suppressor, like what we do at Silencer Central.

The other way to get a suppressor tax stamp is to file an ATF Form 1, which is the application to manufacture an NFA item. If you’re handy with machine tools, you can make your own suppressor at home, although it might not be as effective as a commercial model. You can also buy “solvent trap” kits that exist in a vague legal gray area and can be readily turned into suppressors. Talk to a good firearms lawyer before you Form 1 some of these “not-a-real-silencer” kits so that you can avoid any legal issues in the future. That’s one of the main benefits of buying a manufactured suppressor on a Form 4. No one has ever had the legality of a Form 4 suppressor challenged by the ATF

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At this stage, you have to decide if you are going to register your suppressor as an individual or in the name of a trust. Most people choose an NFA Gun Trust in order to make estate planning easier so that close family and friends can be allowed to take possession and use the suppressor or other NFA items. Plus, when you buy through Silencer Central, we will set you up with a custom gun trust for free, which is normally a $249 purchase. We will ensure that your completed gun trust is done correctly so that the ATF does not reject it. We have completed over 15,000 trust transfers and counting!


Unfortunately, the answer to how long it takes to get a suppressor tax stamp is about as clear as mud. At the time of this writing, the ATF estimates that a Form 1 filed on paper or eFile takes approximately 60 days, or two months. The wait time for a Form 4 is a bit longer, with paper forms taking 12 months (one year) and eFile forms taking 180 days, or six months.

It’s important to remember that these are just estimates. They are not hard-and-fast deadlines. You may get lucky and your approval can come back faster. Conversely, the estimated wait time may come and go and you still don’t have your stamp in hand.

The good news is that your stamp will be approved eventually. The bad news is that there’s nothing you can do to make the ATF process it any faster.



Most people use a Form 4 when buying their suppressor. When you buy from Silencer Central, we make buying a silencer simple. We are approved by the ATF to handle the entire suppressor sales process digitally and by mail – you never have to come into one of our retail offices or visit a local gun shop. With other dealers, you’ll be filling out the paperwork on location and returning again when the ATF approves your application and background check.

The actual stamp that you receive will vary depending on whether you filed a paper application or an eFile application. If you submitted a paper application, then you will get back an actual, physical stamp that has been placed on your ATF Form 1 or Form 4. If you eFiled your application, then you will have a printed stamp that has been digitally placed on your ATF Form 1 or Form 4. Either way, the stamp is proof positive that you have an official, approved ATF Form and you can now enjoy your suppressor or other NFA item.


At Silencer Central, we are passionate about compliance, knowledge, and community education in firearm sound suppression. With more than 15 years of 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.

Like all things in life, there’s always something more to learn. Hopefully, the information about tax stamps in this article helped answer a lot of your questions. Of course, it’s also possible that it brought some new questions to mind that you hadn’t thought of before. Or, we might have overlooked your question altogether. Whatever the case, we’re here to answer any and all of your questions and then get you started on your own journey to suppressor ownership.