© [2020], Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. Originally published in the [06/01/2020] issue of the Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report. Reprinted by permission.

The Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has announced that as of May 18 it ceased its voluntary pilot test of the electronic processing of export data through the Automated Commercial Environment.

Any person desiring to export a National Firearms Act firearm (which includes machine guns, silencers, and destructive devices) without payment of transfer tax must apply for a permit via ATF Form 9, Application and Permit for Permanent Exportation of Firearms. The exporter must furnish evidence of the exportation to ATF within six months of the date the permit is issued to obtain a deferral of tax liability. A satisfactory means of documentation of exportation is for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to execute the certificate of exportation and send a copy to ATF.

Beginning in October 2016, this pilot test allowed NFA firearms exporters to use the ACE portal to submit forms (e.g., ATF Form 9) and information to obtain CBP certification of exportation. CBP then validated that information and electronically transmitted export information to ATF to satisfy CBP’s certification requirements.

ATF states that the termination of this pilot will not cause any delays for participating exporters, which can continue to function as they did while on the pilot. In addition, CBP will continue to transmit certificates of exportation to ATF electronically. Exporters should also be aware that no changes have been made to the requirement to submit their copy of ATF Form 9 to ATF within six months from the date of issuance of the export permit.