The Department of Labor (DOL) is requiring that all 5500 filings be electronically filed and signed (known as "EFAST 2"). For the first filing year under EFAST 2, signers must register for filing credentials at the DOL website. Below are instructions for how to obtain filing credentials with the DOL.
Once this process is complete, you can continue to use the UserID and PIN provided by the DOL in future years. If a different person signs the 5500 filing in a future year, that person will have to register with the DOL signing credentials at that time. In addition, more than one person may obtain credentials to sign a 5500 form if more than one person may actually sign the filing.
There are several steps to registering on the DOL website. We suggest that you set aside approximately 15 minutes to complete the process. However, please keep in mind that it may take more than 15 minutes as there are several steps in the process. Please also note that the DOL may change the registration process - these are the steps as we currently understand them.
- Go to http://www.efast.dol.gov/welcome.html and click on 'Register' found on the left-hand side of the screen.
- Agree to the Privacy Statement. You will be asked to read and sign a privacy statement. To read the contents of the privacy statement before you register, click here.
- Complete your profile. You will be taken to a screen where you will be required to complete information that will serve as your profile (first name, last name, address, email, user type, etc.).
NOTE: In order for a filing to be accepted once signed, you must enter your name at this step as you will enter it upon signing. Ensure that there are no extra spaces surrounding your name (this can generally be avoided by typing out your name and not copying and pasting it).
User Types (EFAST FAQs #11):
- Filing Signer: Filing signers are Plan Administrators, Employers/Plan Sponsors, or Direct Filing Entities who electronically sign the Form 5500/5500-SF. This role should also be selected by plan service providers that have written authorization to file on behalf of the plan administrator under the EFAST2 e-signature option. No other filing-related functions may be performed by selecting this user type alone.
Most ftwilliam.com users do not need to register with the DOL as any of the following user types:
- Filing Author: Filing Authors can complete Form 5500/5500-SF and the accompanying schedules, submit the filing, and check filing status. Filing Authors cannot sign filings unless they also have the "Filing Signer" type. If you are using EFAST2-approved third-party software to author your filing rather than IFILE, you do not need to check this box.
- Schedule Author: Schedule Authors can complete one or more of the schedules that accompany Form 5500/5500-SF. Schedules created by a Schedule Author are not associated with a filing. For a schedule created by a Schedule Author to be used in a filing, the schedule must be exported. This exported file will then be imported by the Filing Author to the correct filing. Schedule Authors cannot initiate, sign, or submit a filing. If the Filing Author is using EFAST2-approved third-party software to author your filing rather than IFILE, then you do not need to check this box.
- Transmitter: Transmitters can transmit Form 5500/5500-SF filings to the EFAST2 system for processing on behalf of others. Transmitters are responsible for the security of all filing information prior to and during its transmission. A Transmitter can be a company, trade, business, or individual.
- Third-Party Software Developer: Third-Party Software Developers make Form 5500 filing preparation or transmission software for use in the EFAST2 system. They submit test cases using their software to the Participant Acceptance Testing System (PATS) Team. The PATS Certification Team will then review their submissions and provide feedback or approve and certify the software. A Third-Party Software Developer can be a company, trade, business, or individual.
- Select a challenge question. You will be asked to select a challenge question and answer. This is required and will be used to obtain your UserID and PIN.
- Review your profile. You will be taken to a "Register - Summary" screen where you will be given the opportunity to review/edit your profile information. Click 'Submit' to continue.
- Check your email. You will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org that will instruct you on how to retrieve your PIN and UserID. You will have until a certain date (indicated in the email) to retrieve the UserID and PIN; otherwise, you will have to call 1-866-463-3278 for assistance.
- Answer your challenge question. After you click on the link provided in the email@example.com email, you will be directed to a screen where you will answer your challenge question you set up earlier in the process.
- Read the PIN Agreement. By agreeing to the PIN agreement, you are indicating that you will not share your PIN that has been assigned to you with anyone else.
The agreement reads as follows:
By activating your PIN, you agree not to share your PIN with anyone. The security of your PIN is important because it can be used to:
- Electronically sign documents, and
- Access your personal records
If your PIN is lost or stolen, you also agree to:
- Contact the EFAST2 Contact Center at 1-866-463-3278 (1-866-GO-EFAST), or
- Request a new PIN by selecting User Profile from the EFAST2 Web site
- Read the Signature Agreement. You will then be asked to agree to a more detailed "Signature Agreement".
The agreement reads as follows:
I understand and agree that the electronic signature is not transferable and that the inclusion of such electronic signature in a Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF return/report filed in electronic form shall have the same legal force and effect as my hand written signature. If I am not the Transmitter, I also agree that my electronic signature on a Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF constitutes consent for EFAST2 personnel to send my Transmitter an acknowledgment of receipt of transmission and to communicate with my Transmitter about the success or failure of the transmission and specific reason(s) for any failure(s).
If I am an EFAST2 Software Developer or EFAST2 Transmitter, I declare that I am authorized to make and sign this statement on behalf of the applicant. The applicant agrees that it and its employees will comply with all provisions of the EFAST2 procedures for the electronic filing of Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF for each year in which the applicant participates. Noncompliance will result in the applicant no longer being allowed to participate as an EFAST2 Software Developer or Transmitter. The applicant understands that acceptance as an EFAST2 Software Developer or Transmitter is not transferable. If applying to be an EFAST2 Transmitter, the applicant further agrees that a copy of all returns/reports that the applicant transmits electronically to the Department of Labor will be provided to the plan administrator, employer or direct filing entity on whose behalf the return/report was transmitted.
Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this agreement, and to the best of my knowledge and belief the information provided in my request for access to the EFAST2 system is true, correct, and complete. I agree that this application can be made public information.
I declare that I am authorized to make and sign this statement.
- Create a password. You will need to create a password that will allow you to log into efast.dol.gov, which completes the process of obtaining the UserID and PIN.
- Print the confirmation. After you have created a password, you will receive your confirmation page that includes your UserID and PIN. We strongly suggest printing this page for your records and keeping your password in a safe place.
NOTE. The UserID and PIN act as your signature to e-sign the 5500 and the UserID and password allow you to log into the DOL website in the future to change any profile information, if necessary.
To learn more about FAQs on EFAST2 Credentials, click here to be directed to the DOL site.