U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government


1. Am I an importer?

You are an importer if you:

  • Bring an article into the United States or the District of Columbia from a source outside of the United States ; or
  • Withdraw an imported article from a customs bonded warehouse for sale or use in the United States or the District of Columbia.

[Refer to 27 CFR 53.11 (definition of importer)]

2. Am I liable for FAET on a one-time or occasional importation?

You are liable for FAET on a one-time or occasional importation if you:

You are not liable for FAET on a one-time or occasional importation if you:

• Acquire a firearm or ammunition outside the United States for the sole purpose of using the firearm in the United States; or

• Import a firearm or ammunition (that you previously owned and had in the United States) for personal use;

• Import firearms or ammunition in knockdown condition (unassembled but complete as to all component parts)

• Import foreign or domestic firearms or ammunition that was sold or used in the United States anytime after 1918;


• Acquire a firearm or ammunition during a stay outside the United States, use the firearm during your stay, and then import the firearm into the United States;


• Import a firearm or ammunition for a legal alien to temporarily use during a stay in the United States. Some examples include lawful sporting purposes, official law enforcement, or repair; or


• Import parts for firearms or ammunition.

3. Am I liable for FAET if I import an article for someone else?

The person who actually causes the importation of the article is liable for FAET.

Scenario: I am a Federal Firearms Licensee. Since I have a Federal Firearms License, a customer asks me to special order a firearm from France and import it into the United States. I complete the required paperwork, import the firearm, and sell the firearm to my customer. The customer reimburses me for customs duties and fees. Who is liable for FAET in this instance?

Answer: In this instance, the customer is liable for FAET since he actually caused the importation of the firearm (He would be referred to as the beneficial owner. ). Since you merely acted as an agent, and imported the firearm on behalf of the customer, you are not liable for FAET (You would be referred to as the nominal importer ). [Refer to Revenue Ruling 69-393 and Revenue Ruling 72-215 ]

4. If I import an article for my personal use, how do I determine my FAET?

If you import an article for personal use, you calculate your FAET by using one of the following two options:

(1) Calculate the sale price on your own.

Your sale price will be the total of the following charges:

• The entry value that Customs uses to determine their duty;
• The import duty;
• Customs handling fees;
• Freight and delivery charges to the port of entry; and
• Any other costs of importing.

Note: If the entry is duty free (i.e., you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or the article is valued below the minimum established by Customs), you must still include the duty that would apply if you were importing the article under normal conditions in your calculation.

When calculating your sale price, you do not need to include:

• State or local taxes; or
• Other expenses you incur after importation.

(2) Ask TTB to calculate your sale price.

If you ask TTB to determine your sale price, you will need to send us details (such as pictures, purchase invoices, and other written descriptions and evaluations). Please allow several weeks for us to make a determination of your FAET liability.

Last updated: January 5, 2020
Maintained by: National Revenue Center