EBIA explained that under the DoL’s ERISA Filing Acceptance System II (EFAST2), filers can prepare and submit Form 5500s using the DOL’s free Web-based application called IFILE, although it is expected that the vast majority of filers will use EFAST2-approved third-party software.
The guides include:
- EFAST2 Guide for Filers and Service Providers – This guide provides basic information on EFAST2 for Form 5500 filers and their service providers, including how to become an EFAST2 user and how to use the EFAST2 system once you have filing credentials. It also provides basic information on troubleshooting and DoL support services.
- EFAST2 Tutorial – This comprehensive online tutorial shows the user how to register for credentials. It also walks the user through the EFAST2 workflow process for creating and submitting a filing with IFILE, including how to create and work with supporting schedules. Users choose from the lessons and move at their own pace, following instructions that walk them through the process.
- EFAST2 IFILE User Guide – This guide provides detailed information and instructions for filers using IFILE. Among other features, the guide discusses the general workflow for preparing and submitting a filing, from how to create the Form 5500 (including schedules and attachments) to how to check the filing status of a submission.
- EFAST2 Filing Search Guide – Under EFAST2, all Form 5500s created and submitted using IFILE or EFAST2-approved third-party software will be stored electronically and can be searched and viewed using the new EFAST2 “Data Dissemination Service” (DDS) application. The DDS application can be used by both the general public and those who have registered for EFAST2 electronic credentials (though registered users can also access certain filings that are not available to the general public). The search guide outlines the process for searching, viewing, and saving filings using the DDS application, and reminds users that only filings filed since January 1, 2010, will be available in EFAST2.
- Most Common EFAST2 Filing Errors – This table includes a description of common EFAST2 filing errors, the error message that will be received when a particular error occurs, and methods for correcting or avoiding the error.
- EFAST2 2009 & 2010 Third-Party Software Test Plan & Certification Procedures – This document describes the process that vendors must follow to produce EFAST2-approved Form 5500 filing software. Though oriented to third-party software vendors, the document addresses background information (e.g., the difference between filing preparation and transmission software) that may also be of interest to filers and preparers.
The guides can be found at http://www.efast.dol.gov/fip/forms_pubs.html.