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Industry Circular

Number: 89-6

Date: September 27, 1989

Department of the Treasury

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

Washington, DC 20226

Seal

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FACSIMILE TRANSMITTED COPIES OF FORMS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS

All Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Licensees, Permittees, and Others Concerned:

PURPOSE. The purpose of this circular is to advise industry members that an ATF ruling will be published in a future issue of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Quarterly Bulletin. The ruling will read substantially as follows:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been asked whether certain forms and other documents could optionally be transmitted to the Bureau by means of facsimile machines. These include various application forms, comments on notices of proposed rulemaking, reports, and other documents submitted to the Bureau.

Recent technological advances have made transmitting documents by facsimile machine practical and the use of facsimile machines has become widespread. The Bureau has acquired several facsimile machines and found them to be acceptable for transmitting many types of documents.

The statutes administered by the Bureau (including the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, the Gun Control Act of 1968, Title XI of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, and the Arms Export Control Act) generally specify the information to be included on documents that are submitted to the Bureau. However, the form of the documents and the manner of filing are generally left to the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe by regulation. The regulations issued pursuant to these statutes generally require that forms and other documents be submitted in original and signed by the applicant, licensee, or permittee.

The Bureau has concluded that if the person transmitting the form or document intends that it be treated as an original and it is filed via a facsimile machine at the person's direction, then the facsimile copy received by the Bureau would be for all intents and purposes the original.

In order to verify the authenticity of a signature on forms and other documents required to be signed under penalties of perjury, the Bureau will require that an affidavit executed by the person signing the forms or documents be submitted to the Bureau prior to acceptance of any facsimile transmitted copies of such forms or documents.

The affidavit should declare, under penalties of perjury, that the affiant will be filing the appropriate forms or documents by facsimile machine, that the signature appearing on the facsimile copies will be that of the affiant, and that the signature on the facsimile is intended as the original signature.

The affidavit should also state that the affiant will be submitting the facsimile copies as originals for approval or other purposes under the appropriate regulations and that the affiant intends that the facsimile copies be treated as originals.

Finally, the affidavit should also state that the person signing the form or other document will personally transmit the copy via facsimile machine, or, if a designated agent is to do the transmittal, the name of the agent who will do the actual transmittal will be stated.

The affidavit would only have to be submitted one time to each Bureau office to which facsimile transmitted copies are to be sent, and would not have to be resubmitted unless a different official would be signing or transmitting the copies.

The Bureau concludes that only documents that are legible and of suitable size (8 1/2" X 11" or as specifically authorized by the receiving office) may be submitted by facsimile transmission. The Bureau also concludes that facsimile transmitted copies would not be acceptable with respect to fingerprint cards, bonds, photographs, checks, or labels for alcoholic beverage containers or the forms or documents required to be submitted with such items.

The acceptance of facsimile transmitted copies at some Bureau offices may be restricted due to limited availability of facsimile machines, telephone lines or other reasons. Instructions on the form or instructions otherwise provided will state whether a facsimile transmitted copy of a form or other document may be used.

The instructions will also indicate the locations and telephone numbers where the transmissions may be sent. Instructions for facsimile transmitted copies of comments on a notice of proposed rulemaking will be provided in the notice itself.

Accordingly, the Bureau has determined that facsimile transmitted copies of forms and other documents may be accepted under certain conditions.

Held: Forms and other documents submitted to the Bureau may be accepted when transmitted by facsimile machines under the following conditions:

  1. The Bureau office to which the forms or other documents are to be submitted is suitably equipped with facsimile machines and telephone lines to receive the facsimile transmitted copies.
  2. The forms or other documents are legible and of suitable size (8 1/2" X 11" or as specifically authorized by the receiving office) for facsimile transmission.
  3. The forms or other documents are transmitted in accordance with instructions on the form, notice of proposed rulemaking, or otherwise provided.
  4. The forms or other documents are not fingerprint cards, bonds, photographs, checks, or labels for alcoholic beverage containers and are not the forms or documents required to be submitted with such items.
  5. Prior to accepting any facsimile transmitted copies of forms and other documents required to be signed under penalties of perjury, the Bureau must have received an affidavit executed by the person whose signature appears on the forms or documents. The affidavit must declare, under penalties of perjury, that:

    a. the affiant will be filing the appropriate forms or other documents by facsimile machine,
    b. the signature appearing on the facsimile copies will be that of the affiant, and is intended as the original signature,
    c. the affiant will be submitting the facsimile copies as originals for purposes of approval or other purpose under the appropriate regulations and that the affiant intends that the facsimile copies be treated as originals, and
    d. the person signing the forms or other documents will personally transmit the copies via facsimile machine, or, if a designated agent is to do the transmittal, the name of the agent who will do the actual transmittal.

  6. The affidavit is required to be submitted only one time to each Bureau office to which facsimile transmitted copies are to be sent, and need not be resubmitted unless a different official will be signing or transmitting the forms.

INQUIRIES. Inquiries concerning this circular should refer to its number and be addressed to the Associate Director (Compliance Operations), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20226.

David Black

Acting Director

 
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