DoL Seeks Electronic 5500 Filing Feedback

March 10, 2004 ( - A dearth of electronic Form 5500 filings has federal regulators scratching their heads and asking plan sponsors for constructive feedback.

>The Department of Labor’s (DoL) request for feedback comes as the agency is considering a number of possible design improvements to the ERISA Filing Acceptance System ( EFAST), according to a news release.   Key among the design changes is a push towards a Web-based system, dubbed EFAST2.

>In the system’s current incarnation, plan sponsors are able to electronically file their Form 5500 Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan – as mandated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).   However, since the electronic filing system went into effect 1999, the DoL has not had the type of volume originally expected.   Overall, the majority of Form 5500s (72%) are submitted on machine-print forms, and 26% are submitted on hand printed forms, either government printed or computer produced. Approximately 2% of the returns – roughly 20,000 filings – are filed electronically.   This paltry utilization figure is leading the agency to request feedback before launching an upgraded system, making the newer version more attractive to potential users.

>Plan sponsors can submit their two cents to EFAST Program Office, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Room N-5459, US Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20210, Attn: EFAST RFC. Responses may also be submitted electronically to .   Written comments should be submitted to the office listed on or before April 5, 2004.

More information is available at .