2011 Review of Spokane Computer, Inc. — MAG-FILER

Spokane Computer, Inc. — MAG-FILER



From the Oct. 2011 Review of W-2 & 1099 Compliance Systems.

Best Fit: Practices seeking a simple system for managing multiple clients, with support for all federal and state year-end compliance requirements.


  • Intuitive interface, client management screens.
  • Import from Microsoft Excel, QuickBooks, Sage Peachtree & text files.
  • Multiple file output options.
  • Print/mail service bureau option.

Potential Limitations:

  • No support for 940 series reporting.
  • Lacks a client billing system.


MAG-FILER offers year-end wage and information reporting, with support for all 1099s and W-2s, for all 50 states and Washington D.C., plus additional federal forms. The system offers import from GL systems and provides data verification and bulk TIN matching. It also includes e-filing to federal and state entities, along with printing to blank or pre-formatted stock. Spokane Computer has been offering the program since mid-1980, and also offers a service bureau option for printing and mailing forms to recipients. Other programs from the company include web development, financial accounting systems for the truck equipment industry and a technical quote management system.

Basic System Functions (4 Stars)

MAG-FILER is designed for managing multiple client payer entities, and can be installed to Windows-based workstations, laptops or networked servers. Third-party application service providers may be able to offer hosting, as well. System setup processes are quick, and creation of new client payers occurs on simple data-entry screens that also allow for setting client defaults for third-party withholding, establishment numbers for multi-location entities, and electronic filing and batch printing options.

The program’s initial interface is a “Getting Started” window that offers links to program information, the user manual, support, e-filing steps and a program update checker. Within the actual program, the primary interface provides a sortable list of payers and basic contact information, along with the form type for each payer. A payer can only be set up for one type of form, but additional payer files can be created for clients filing multiple form types. The tabbed screen allows users to move to the client detail screen. The main work screen also offers buttons for accessing recipient/payee lists for each client, magnetic filing options and Help. The payee lists include access to forms printing, reporting, data import and a spreadsheet view of client information.

Within forms, data can be entered or edited on either an interview-style sheet or on a form replica, both of which provide automatic FICA calculation on W-2s. The system does not maintain a shared database of recipients so selection from lists isn’t available, and a contractor or employee recipient may need to be created multiple times if they receive forms from different payer entities. The program can be used by any number of firm staff at the same time. Program-level password protection is available on a per user basis, but with no task-specific or client grouping functions.

Reporting (4.25 Stars)

MAG-FILER includes unlimited e-filing using the IRS and SSA systems, as well as filing to states using the standard SSA EFW2 format. Print filing to all 50 states is native, and the system supports multi-state W-2 filings. It can generate print or e-file ready versions of all W-2 and 1099 forms, in addition to W-3, 1096, 1097, 1098, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8935 and 1042-S. Batch reporting options allow for simultaneous printing of all forms of a specific type for multiple payers. Forms can be saved as PDFs, and can be emailed to recipients. MAG-FILER can print to plain paper or preprinted stock, and offers SSN masking.

In addition to forms output, the program offers a totals report that shows summary amounts for all payee files of a specific form entered for a particular payer. The report can be customized by field and can include subtotals, TIN totals and descriptions. MAG-FILER does not include after-the-fact (ATF) payroll or invoicing options. Spokane Computer offers a service that can manage all printing and mailing of forms to tax agencies and recipients. New features planned for the TY 2011 version include the addition of forms 1097-BTC and 1099-K, as well as bulk TIN matching and SSN truncation.

Import/Export Capabilities (4 Stars)

MAG-FILER imports client and recipient data from Microsoft Excel, QuickBooks, Sage Peachtree and text files, and offers export to CSV files and PDF. It includes integration with email programs for distribution of recipient copies of form 1099-Misc. The program includes data rollover features for previous year client and recipient information.

Help/Support (4.5 Stars)

The Help utility in MAG-FILER includes guidance focused on specific tasks, importing and other functions, as well as a PDF copy of the full user’s manual, steps to e-filing, and help on Microsoft Access (the database platform upon which the program is built). The support website offers additional tools, including FAQs, a Quick Start guide, and links to online resources such as the IRS and SSA. Updates can be downloaded from the vendor’s website, but the program does not offer automatic updates. Web-based and live telephone technical support is included in program pricing.

Summary & Pricing

MAG-FILER is a very easy-to-learn system for preparing year-end returns, and provides good built-in e-filing capabilities to the IRS, SSA and most states. The company’s printing and mailing service can provide relief for preparers who wish to minimize time spent on these tasks. MAG-FILER costs $364 if ordered on disc, but is discounted to $324 if downloaded online.

2011 Overall Rating: 4.25 Stars


Product Delivery Methods:

_X_ On-Premises

___ SaaS

_X_ Hosted by Vendor