In a Bankruptcy, does one have to pay the ATF Transfer Tax to Transfer an NFA Firearm?

To the surprise of most, as it is generally as provision that is unknown and overlooked, the Bankruptcy Code actually provides that the transfer of an NFA firearm in a bankruptcy estate is to be transferred tax free.

11 U.S.C. § 1146, Special Tax Provisions, provides that “(a) The issuance, transfer, or exchange of a security, or the making or delivery of an instrument of transfer under a plan confirmed under section 1129 of this title, may not be taxed under any law imposing a stamp tax or similar tax.”

As the National Firearms Act (NFA) generally requires the stamp tax on the transfer of an NFA firearm, this Bankruptcy Code provision exempts the bankruptcy estate from having to pay the tax. While this may seem like a great benefit at first blush, it actually makes it easier and more desirable (as there is less cost involved) for the creditors to want to force the sale of NFA firearms.

While there are very occasions where an individual owns NFA firearms and is going through a bankruptcy, it does occur and this provision can be beneficial with regards to silencers and non-limited production run Short-Barreled Rifles/Shotguns, as generally the payment of the tax would make selling the item for any value, somewhat prohibitive.

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