From the October 2005 Review of W-2/1099
MAG-FILER supports annual wage and information return processing for Form(s)
W-2, W-3, W-2G, all Form(s) 1099, 1042-S, 1098, 1098-E, 1098-T, 5498, 5498-ESA
and 5498-SA. It supports electronic and magnetic media filing and print filing
capabilities. Spokane also offers a service bureau that can perform all or any
part of the filing process, including data entry. You can purchase MAG-FILER’s
download version for [Pricing has changed since this review] from their web
site at magfiler.spokanecomputer.com/purchase.asp.
Aaron Thain of Assisted Living of Idaho, LLC, shared about his experience
using MAG-FILER to create a magnetic media file with which
to submit his 1994 W-2s from a ‘print to file’ output from QuickBooks
Pro 2003. He imported about 300 W-2s and said, “The program worked simply
and flawlessly.” Assisted Living of Idaho, LLC, sends Personal Care Attendants
to the homes of elderly or disabled persons as an alternative to these individuals
being placed in nursing homes at taxpayer expense. Thain looked at several other
programs online, downloaded trial versions and decided that MAG-FILER was the
best program to do the MagMedia W-2s in his case. He appreciates the simple
import and MagMedia formatting of QuickBooks W-2s. “Just follow the directions
and, for MagMedia W-2s from QuickBooks, it’s a snap,” he said.
Usability/Navigation — 3.5 Stars
MAG-FILER begins with the import of *.CSV or other electronic information, and
features easy reviewing and reporting of imported information, streamlined laser
or pre-printed form printing in a variety of formats, and a one-step magnetic
filing process. All required processes and forms are created by MAG-FILER. The
Payer Information screen provides a sortable listing of available clients and
basic client information. Upon selection of a Payer, MAG-FILER opens the Payee
Information screen for that client, with similarly sortable information. These
intuitive, and the program’s simplified interface aids in navigation.
However, some of the data-entry screens for entering a new Payer can leave a
first-time user wondering what the next step is.
Although data files are generally created via file import, further data entry
or corrections are performed on input screens that follow a logical layout of
data-entry fields, although they are not replicas of actual forms. The user
can override auto-calculated data, if desired. All user screens provide navigation
menus across the top with links to assorted functions, including adding new
payees/payers, starting the filing process, print options, report options, importing
data, and the program’s Help utility. MAG-FILER supports an unlimited
number of Payers (clients) and Payees (client employees). The screen interface
is fairly straightforward, but it does not provide many of the more advanced
features of products included in this review, such as context-specific Help,
audit trails and links to full instructions.
Reporting & Import/Export Capabilities — 4.5 Stars
MAG-FILER uses a multi-step process for import of client/payee data. Users export
data from an accounting program into ASCII or *.CSV formats. The user then imports
the file using a mapping template and routes data to the appropriate field(s)
of a form. The MAG-FILER supplied mapping templates work with most accounting
programs and offer users the option to print to preprinted or plain paper, including
printing W-2s and W-3s to laser-created forms.
Support For Paperless Transmission — 4.5 Stars
MAG-FILER provides the ability to submit returns electronically or via magnetic
media, including transmission of payroll data to states that accept the SSA
MMREF-1 format. The program can submit Form(s) 1099 via the IRS Combined Federal/State
Program and can
e-file corrected Form(s) 1099.
Help/Training — 3.5 Stars
Spokane Computer, Inc. offers a built-in Help utility, a User’s Guide
and free traditional telephone support. Context-specific help and links to the
Help utility file would improve the functionality of the program. Thain noted
that he had only one tech support issue at the time he first used the program
and that Spokane was easy to communicate with: “As I remember, I called
and they gave me a quick, easy answer. I don’t recall exactly what my
issue was, except that it was easy for them to tell me how to create my file.
I hadn’t done something right, and the solution was obvious once they
explained to me what to do.”
2005 Overall Rating — 4 Stars