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Industry Circular

Number: 58-21
Date: August 20, 1958

Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division


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Registered Importers, Manufacturers and Dealers in Firearms, and others concerned:

Purpose. The purpose of this industry circular is to invite attention to the provisions of 26 CFR 179.151 and to solicit your cooperation in the uniform preparation of timely, complete and accurate returns (Form 2 (Firearms) and Form 3 (Firearms)) reflecting commercial transactions in machine guns and certain other firearms coming within the purview of the National Firearms Act (Chapter 53, Internal Revenue Code).

Prescribed Procedure. The use of Form 2 (Firearms) "Return of Firearms Manufactured, Imported, or Received", and Form 3 (Firearms) "Return of Firearms Transferred or Otherwise Disposed of" is prescribed only for use by registered importers, manufacturers and dealers in reporting commercial transactions in firearms coming within the purview of the National Firearms Act. These returns are filed at the close of each business day with the Director, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division, Internal Revenue Service, Washington 25, D. C. Space is provided on each return to record an individual description of at least 15 firearms, and a separate line should be used for each individual firearm. The only exception to this rule applies in recording bulk quantities of identical firearms bearing consecutive manufacturer's serial numbers in which case the first and last number in the series, plus the total quantity of firearms in the lot may be entered in the column captioned "Serial No." Where additional sheets are required to record bulk transactions involving firearms with serial numbers not in numerical sequence, additional forms should be used and a notation made at the top of each form to designate the total number of pages (forms) in the series as well as the individual page within such series (Example: Page (1) of (7) pages). The practice of attaching a separate schedule listing the serial numbers of firearms which are further described on accompanying Form 2 (Firearms) or Form 3 (Firearms) is not authorized and should be discontinued immediately.

Factors for Consideration. The manufacturer's serial number is stamped on a firearm for positive individual identification purposes and it is unlawful to remove or change such identification marks (26 U.S.C. 5852). Each firearm reported on Form 2 (Firearms) as having been imported, produced, or received represents a potential revenue to the Government of $200 upon subsequent transfer thereof, and registered importers, manufacturers and dealers are held accountable for the tax imposed under 26 U.S.C. 5811 unless the subsequent transfer is exempt by virtue of 26 U.S.C. 5812. Accordingly, it is essential that the returns accurately reflect the manufacturer's serial number stamped on the weapon, and experience has shown that this may best be accomplished by verifying the serial numbers to be shown in the returns and/or commercial invoices, etc. by actual comparison with the serial number stamped on the weapon. Where a discrepancy is noted, the matter should be reported to this office immediately for appropriate instructions prior to filing the return.

Inquiries. Inquiries in regard to this circular should refer to the number thereof and should be addressed to the Director, Alcohol & Tobacco Tax Division, Attention: 0:AT:EF.


Dwight E. Avis
Director, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division


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