Find out when and how to file the Form 5500 for your small business 401(k) with these Form 5500 instructions. While some service providers will prepare, sign, and even file this annual reporting document on your behalf, you can follow this simple walkthrough to electronically file on your own.

Form 5500 is a report that must be completed and filed annually by employee benefit plan managers—the person at your company responsible for managing the 401(k)—in order to meet annual reporting requirements under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. Form 5500-SF is for 401(k) plans with fewer than 100 employees participating in the plan (small plan filers). The following is a step-by-step guide on how to electronically file Form 5500-SF.

NOTE: Many service providers will prepare, sign, and even file the Form 5500 on your behalf. Check with your service provider to confirm what level of service they are providing prior to beginning the filing process.

When Does Form 5500-SF Need To Be Filed?

Annually, on the last day of the 7th month after the plan year ends (July 31 for a calendar-year plan). Filing must be done electronically through EFAST2 or EFAST2 vendor-approved software.

  • An extension may be requested by filing IRS Form 5558

How to Electronically File

Step 1: Register with EFAST2:

  1. Go to the EFAST2 website (https://www.efast.dol.gov/welcome.html) and click “Register” on the left hand side under the Main section
  2. Click “Continue,” and then read and accept the Privacy Statement.
  3. Complete the required fields in the Profile Information section. Select “Filing Signer” from the User Type options. Click “Next” to Continue.
  4. Choose a Challenge Question and Answer. Click “Next” to continue.
  5. Review your registration information and click “Submit” once you’ve verified.
  6. Confirm your registration by clicking “OK”.
  7. Read the confirmation email that you will receive from efast@efastsys.dol.gov.
  8. Continue the registration process by clicking the link in the email.
  9. Verify your Challenge Question.
  10. Accept the Signature Agreement.
  11. Create a password based on the specified requirements and click “Save” to continue.
  12. Print the “Register – Confirmation” screen.

IMPORTANT: These credentials will only be displayed here. You will not have access to your User ID and PIN after exiting this screen. Please print this page for your records. When the screen indicates Successful Account Activation, you have registered your credentials on the EFAST2 website. Now you will be able to transmit your Form 5500-SF.

For any technical support needed during this registration process, contact the EFAST2 Help Desk Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET by phone at 866-GO-EFAST (866-463-3278) or email efast@dol.gov.

Step 2: Electronically File Form 5500:

  1. Log in to the EFAST2 website (https://www.efast.dol.gov/welcome.html)
  2. Access the current year’s Form 5500-SF by clicking the “Form Year” dropdown.
  3. To review and electronically file the Form 5500-SF, click on your plan name under the Plan Name column.
  4. On the following screen, click on “File EFAST Forms” under “E-File” to begin the process.
  5. To review the Form 5500-SF for accuracy, select “View” under “Actions” on the 5500 line. (Refer to visual at top of next page)
    1. If you do not require changes: click “Next”
    2. If you do require changes: contact the service provider who prepared your Form 5500-SF in order to request the change
  6. Once you approve your Form 5500-SF, click “Next”:
  7. To sign your Form 5500-SF enter your name, EFAST2 UserID, and PIN
  8. Click “I have read this agreement”
  9. Click “Agree and Transmit”
  10. Print and sign a copy for your records

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