Filing a Form 5500 is necessary to adhere to annual reporting guidelines for certain pension and welfare benefit plans like profit sharing and 401(k) plans. But just because you need to file a Form 5500 doesn't mean you have the credentials to do so. In order to file Form 5500, you must file electronically through Department of Labor (DOL) approved software called EFAST 2, which requires DOL credentials.
What Are DOL Credentials?
DOL credentials are the secured login details to your account on EFAST2, which allow you to file Form 5500 electronically.
Who Needs to Use Them?
All plan sponsors, plan administrators, and plan service providers who are authorized to file Form 5500 using the EFAST2 e-signature option must register for credentials in order to sign filings.
Why Do You Need to Use EFAST2?
EFAST2 is an all-electronic system designed by the DOL, IRS, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to simplify and expedite the submission, receipt, and processing of Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF. The DOL requires the use of EFAST2, because it enables more streamlined and organized form processing, saving their department time and effort addressing form submission errors.
How Do You Get your DOL Credentials?
There are several steps to applying for credential, although the process only takes about 15 minutes to complete:
- Go to the EFAST2 Website and select "Register" on the Welcome screen. Read and accept the privacy statement.
- On the next screen, provide contact information (name, address, phone, company name, etc.) and select one or more of the five user types. For example, someone preparing, signing, and submitting a filing will choose "Filing Author" and "Filing Signer".
- Next you'll be prompted to provide two security questions and answers. The security question and answer is used in case you forget your password.
- After verifying that the information you entered is correct, you will see the Registration Confirmation screen telling you that completion of your registration will be pending until you receive your Credentials Notification email with further instructions. EFAST2 generates and sends the Credentials Notification email within five minutes.
- Once you receive the Credentials Notification email, select the link in the email that will take you to a secure EFAST2 website, which will ask you for the answer to your security question.
- Next you will be asked to accept the PIN Agreement, which describes the security of your PIN and what to do if your PIN is lost or stolen. You will also be asked to accept the Signature Agreement if you will be signing the Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF.
- You will be prompted to create a password. The password must be between 8 and 16 characters long and must not contain spaces. You must use at least one uppercase letter, one lower case letter, at least one number and at least one of the following special characters [!, @, $, %, ^, &, *, (, )]. No other special characters are allowed. Your new password must be different from your last 12 previous passwords. This field is case-sensitive and must be re-set after 90 days.
Once you have your UserID, PIN, and password, your EFAST2 registration is complete.
How Often Do You Need to Reapply For your Credentials?
According to the DOL, you should only need to register one time if you actively use your account. Credentials that have gone unused for three consecutive calendar years will expire. At that point you'll need to renew your credentials.