1099 Fire offers two separate programs for filing of year-end wage and information reporting. The company’s self-branded 1099 Fire program offers compliance for all forms 1098, 1099 and 5498, plus 3921, 3922, 1096 and W-2G, while the W-2 Fire system offers forms W-2, W-3 and correction versions of each. Both systems offer electronic filing options and the ability to print to plain or pre-printed form stock. The vendor also offers options for outsourcing compliance processes, including converting recipient copies to PDF with SSN masking, performing bulk TIN matching, converting files to IRS-ready format and even performing the e-file functions.
Basic System Functions
Each of the programs opens into a separate interface, not sharing payer data. However, they do offer fairly similar work areas, with the 1099 system starting with a form selection list and on-screen guidance for performing the steps within the program. After selecting a form type, the screen opens to the main work space, which provides a sortable selection list of payers and recipients at the top, with options for copying, editing or deleting forms, as well as buttons for performing diagnostics and import and export tasks.
The W-2 system defaults to this form-specific window view, since it is primarily geared toward preparation of one specific form. Below the payer/recipient list, the program offers form data entry that takes place directly onto a replica of the form selected, with intuitive field navigation and pull-down lists for some fields, along with the option to automatically calculate Medicare and SSI withholding on W-2s. Batch entry and review screens are provided during import processes, and manual entry screens are intuitive; however, a multi-recipient single-screen data-entry view is not offered.
The system includes forward and back navigation buttons, but the 1099 Fire system would benefit from the addition of a Home button to let users quickly get back to the primary form type selection screen.
Both systems can support any number of payers and recipients, and have been used by organizations filing more than one million forms. So the programs are certainly scalable to any size organization or professionals managing year-end reporting for multiple clients. The programs can also be networked and used by multiple users at the same time, but they do not include automatic anti-overwrite mechanisms or file checkout. The systems are not designed to provide after-the-fact payroll, although the W-2 system does include the ability to prepare quarterly wage reporting on forms 940 and 941. The program is updated annually and is available by late summer of each year. Interim program updates are also available as necessary. 4
Aside from options for printing compliance forms, recipient copies and payer totals, 1099 Fire and W-2 Fire do not really offer any managerial reporting. The systems support filing to all states that use the combined federal state filing program. The 1099 Fire program supports all versions of forms 1098 and 1099, plus 3921, 3922, 5498, 1096 and W-2G. Each of the individual form types can be purchased individually or as an all-inclusive bundle. The W-2 system includes forms W-2, W-3 and the correction versions of each form, plus forms 940 and 941, which can be auto-populated with the sum of employee data. Forms can be printed to blank paper or pre-printed stock, and electronic filing is included in the e-file versions of the programs. Recipient copies of forms can be generated to PDF format for digital distribution and storage. No billing or invoicing options are built into the programs. The vendor offers options for outsourcing parts or all of the year-end reporting process, from data import, conversion to PDF, TIN matching and filing. 3.75
Both the 1099 Fire and W-2 Fire systems can import from Excel and CSV formats, allowing them to obtain data from virtually all payroll, accounting and other management systems and databases. Likewise, they can export to the CSV format, offering two-step integration with third-party programs. Users of both systems would benefit from a shared database of payer names, which could reduce some data entry. The systems do not offer portals for W-2 and 1099 recipients or direct integration with document management systems, but the PDF capabilities do aid in electronic storage. 4
Both systems support all modern Windows operating systems through Windows 7. The systems do not offer built-in Help indexes or even links to the company’s support website, which includes a learning center, frequently asked questions, program updates and contact information. Live technical support is included in program pricing. 4
Summary & Pricing
The 1099 Fire and W-2 Fire systems offer comprehensive support for all year-end wage and information reporting, with paper and electronic filing capabilities. Users also have options for outsourcing all or part of the reporting and forms generation processes. A version of 1099 Fire that supports e-filing and printing costs $199.95; a print-only version of the 1099 software is available for $69.95. The e-file and print version of W-2 Fire is also $199.95. A complete, but print-only version of 1099-Fire costs $99.95. The print-only version of the W-2 system is $34.95.
2010 Overall Rating 4