On occasion the issue arises as to whether a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) can obtain a refund of his/her/its Special Occupation Tax that was previously paid but not utilized. There is very little information on this topic and there are no regulations that speak to it directly. However, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF or BATFE) has stated, “A refund can only be made if you were not in the NFA business at all during the Tax Year.” The ATF has further clarified (although, not really) that “the fact that you did not make any acquisitions or dispositions of NFA firearms during the Tax Year does not mean that you can claim a refund of special tax.”
So what does this mean? It means that if you paid your SOT but did not perform any transfers and did not offer the service to the public (AKA ads stating that you will do NFA transfers for X dollars), you should be entitled to refund of your SOT. While there is no specific form available, the ATF does state that the request should be made to the NFA Branch, which is responsible for issuing and administering SOTs. I would suggest sending any correspondence certified mail, return receipt and stating in the request for a refund that in addition to not performing any transfers, you also did not advertise, promote, or otherwise attempt to conduct any form of business with your SOT.
If you have questions on obtaining a refund of your SOT or wish to discuss applying for your FFL or SOT, give me a call so that we can discuss your needs.