Spokane Computer Inc. — MAG-FILER

From the Oct. 2007 Review of W-2/1099 Systems

The MAG-FILER system provides compliance for all versions of forms 1099, 1098, 5498, W-2 and W-3, along with 1042S, with the ability to import data from most payroll and accounting systems. The program is designed for use by professionals handling year-end compliance for multiple entities with an unlimited number of payees, and includes the ability to print to plain or preformatted stock or to electronically file all forms and reports. MAG-FILER costs $309 for a downloaded version and an electronic user manual, while a CD-based version of the program is available for $349 per year. Spokane Computer also offers various outsourced compliance options through its service bureau.

Usability/Navigation – 4 Stars
MAG-FILER opens to the Payer selection screen that provides a sortable and filterable spreadsheet list of clients, along with base data such as EIN, contact info, file type and whether the Payer is mag-filed. Detailed information is easily accessed using a tab that opens a window that is also used for initial setup of client data and allows scrolling forward and back between client Payers. From the Payer information menu and individual company detail screens, a selection of buttons across the top gives access to creating New Payers, Payees, magnetic filing options and the system’s Help utility.

After initial setup of company data, including state and federal taxing information and filing settings, most data entry is performed through the Payees section, which also includes a spreadsheet list of employees, contractors and other recipients, with the same Detail screen option and navigation features. From this screen, additional function buttons at the top allow access to form printing, reporting options, import functions and Help. Data entry is performed on these tabbed entry screens as opposed to entry onto form replicas, with reports and forms generated from the data and viewable on-screen prior to printing. The system automatically calculates data as it is entered, allowing users to override fields as necessary. During data import tasks, the system offers reviewing functions to ensure that data is compliant with IRS/SSA standards. Importing and other system functions, such as reporting, magnetic filing options and the Help utility all appear in subwindows. Among its service offerings, Spokane Computer can handle all or part of processing tasks, including company/payer setup, data entry, importing, printing, e-filing and mailing of recipient form copies.

Reporting & Import/Export Capabilities – 4 Stars
All of the forms in MAG-FILER, including 1099, 1098, 5498, W-2 and W-3, can be printed to either pre-printed stock or to blank paper using a laser printer. The primary output option offered through the Report button on the Payee screen provides a summary of Totals, including gross income, SSA and IRS withholdings, taxable incomes and other information. This report can be printed or viewed on-screen. The system can import from Excel, QuickBooks, Quicken and ASCII files, and verifies that the data meets federal standards. During import, the user is guided through the process of mapping data files with the MAG-FILER system, instructing the program as to where to find and place various Payee income, tax and demographic information.

Support for Paperless Transmission – 4.5 Stars
Electronic and magnetic filing options in MAG-FILER allow e-filing of forms and corrected returns to the IRS and SSA, with 1099s submitted through the Combined Federal/State program. Additionally, W-2 state information is transmitted to all states using the SSA’s EFW2 format. Spokane Computer also offers outsourced compliance services for e-filing and magnetic reporting.

Help/Training – 4 Stars
The program’s Help utility does not offer context-sensitive assistance. It does, however, include a built-in PDF-formatted user guide and manual, along with data-entry assistance and links to the company’s website, e-mail support, and links to the websites of the IRS and SSA.

Spokane’s support website includes FAQs, a Quick Start reference guide and additional access to the manual, along with downloadable updates and online program renewals and purchases. Training and toll-free technical assistance and user support are included with the price of the system.

2007 Overall Rating: 4 Stars