From the Oct. 2011 Review of W-2 & 1099 Compliance Systems.
1099 Fire — 1099 Fire and W-2 Fire
Best Fit: Small and mid-sized businesses; for in-house use, although it does support multiple EINs.
- Multiple options for print, e-filing, various forms.
- Good multi-staff access capabilities.
- Outsourced print/mail service option.
- Basic multi-client management utilities.
- Limited built-in help functionality.
Technology developer 1099 Fire offers both paper-based and electronic filing of all versions of forms 1099 and W-2. This includes its web-based flagship system, 1099 Fire, and the also-web-based W-2 Fire program. These systems offer federal and all-state preparation and reporting support for their respective forms, and the company also offers programs for filing forms 1098, 5498, 3921 and 3922. 1099 Fire also supports filing of previous year forms, as well as an optional managed service for printing and mailing copies.
Basic System Functions (4 Stars)
The programs from 1099 Fire offer comprehensive support for filing virtually all types of year-end and quarterly wage and information reporting to the SSA, IRS and all states, although each of the core programs (1099, W-2, 1042, 8027 and 1098C) are all separate systems that can be installed on workstations, servers or laptop computers. Each of the programs opens into a similar interface, with a step-by-step process that guides users through selection of the form, data entry, printing and saving the file into various formats. Basic navigation elements include options for moving forward and backward among forms, printing, previewing forms, and accessing the main forms menu.
Data-entry screens resemble form replicas, with a list of previously entered payers and recipients automatically displayed in a list at the top of the screen. This allows users to quickly add their EIN/TIN, address and other information, and then either import or manually enter specific financial data. For W-2s, FICA withholding is automatically calculated, but can be overridden. During setup of payers and recipients, users can also duplicate existing ones by selecting them from the list. From the data-entry screen, users can also access a TIN matching function, payer totals report, and import and export functions. An error-checking tool identifies missing or potentially faulty data entry. As previously noted, the programs support prior year filings for all forms.
The 1099 Fire and W-2 Fire systems can be used by any number of staff in the same office, whether installed on workstations, laptops or networked servers. Likewise, the programs support any number of EIN companies and recipients, allowing it to be used by professional firms. Basic client management tools include general reporting options. The program can be hosted via third-party ASPs, although there are no specific partnerships with these vendors.
Reporting (4 Stars)
For paper filing, the system can output signature-ready forms to plain paper or preformatted stock, while the electronic filing versions of the programs can e-file forms W-2, W-2C, W-2G, 1099, 1098, 1042-S, 3921, 3922, 5498 and 8027. All 1099 and 1098 variants are included in either print or e-fileable formats. For print-based filings, W-3 and 1096 forms can also be generated. The W-2 Fire system also includes print and e-file of forms 940 and 941.
Print versions for submission to states and local governments can be generated, as well as e-filing using the combined federal program. W-2s can support employees filing to up to two states. Both the W-2 and 1099 Fire programs can save recipient copies as PDFs and includes the ability to mask SSN/TIN, with bulk TIN matching. Users can also convert files to IRS-ready format. No billing or invoicing management utilities are built into the programs, nor do they offer direct integration with time and billing or time clock systems.
The vendor offers an optional service for managing all compliance processes, including importing and converting data, TIN matching, e-filing, printing, and mailing of all forms to government entities and recipients.
Import/Export Capabilities (4.25 Stars)
The 1099 Fire and W-2 Fire systems offer data import from Excel and CSV formats, which enables two-step integration with most accounting, payroll and other financial systems. Files can be output to CSV, and recipient copies can be saved as PDFs. The locally installed programs do not provide online portals for recipient self-service, but the masking of SSNs does allow for paperless storage and emailing of copies.
Help/Support (4 Stars)
The programs are generally simple to learn and use, but unfortunately do not include a traditional Help utility or even access to form instructions. The company’s website, however, does provide a learning center and FAQs, as well as a Learning Center that offers additional how-tos on program usage, deadlines, e-filing topics and overviews of information returns. Live technical support is free and included with system pricing. Program updates can be downloaded from the website but are not automatic.
Summary & Pricing
The 1099 Fire and W-2 Fire systems offer compliance tools for all year-end wage and information returns, with both print-only and e-filing options. It is best-suited to direct use by business entities, or for firms with varied client reporting needs. And although it is used by some high-volume entities, it is a better fit for small and mid-sized volumes. Pricing for the W-2 Fire with e-filing is $229, and 1099 Fire with e-filing is also $229. Print-only versions are $59. The service bureau option, through which the vendor manages all print, file and mail functions, costs $349 for up to 5,000 records.
2011 Overall Rating 4 Stars
Product Delivery Methods:
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