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Form Magic, Inc. — Tax-Mate

the Oct. 2006 Review of Practice Management Systems

is offered in four versions: Tax-Mate Print, Tax-Mate Laser, Tax-Mate Transmittal
and Tax-Mate Advisor. Tax-Mate Transmittal and Tax-Mate Advisor support paperless
transmittals to the IRS and SSA. Tax-Mate Print and Tax-Mate Laser support paper
transmittals and produce the required Form 1096 and W-3 transmittals for smaller
filers. Tax-Mate Print costs $89, Tax-Mate Laser costs $119, Tax-Mate Transmittal
costs $189, and Tax-Mate Advisor costs $289. Substantial discounts are available
for returning customers. The vendor also offers a Mac version.

Tax-Mate Print, the base- level product, is designed for businesses that need
to produce and distribute a limited number of 1099 and W-2 forms and submit
the data via printed Form(s) 1096 and W3. Tax-Mate Print supports Form(s) 1099-DIV,
1099-INT, 1099-MISC, 1099-R, and W-2, while Tax-Mate Laser supports all Form(s)
1099, 1098, 5498 and W-2. Tax-Mate Transmittal is designed for businesses, schools
or credit unions that require the ability to produce, distribute and file electronically
or in paper form. In addition to those forms supported by Tax-Mate Print, Tax-Mate
Transmittal includes support for Form(s) 1098, 1098-E, 1098-T, 5498, 5498-SA
and 5498-ESA. Tax-Mate Advisor, the top-level product, provides businesses,
banks and accounting firms with the form and filing support found in Tax-Mate
Transmittal plus support for Form(s) 1099-A, 1099-B, 1099-C, 1099-CAP, 1099-G,
1099-H, 1099-LTC, 1099-SA, 1099-OID, 1099-PATR, 1099-Q and 1099-S.

New for 2006 is a Transmittal wizard, a quick find bar in the form database,
the ability to select records via a checkbox, and a new print interface with
icons and descriptions of forms. It also offers the ability to print current
record, all records, selected records, and printing of records for a single
payer. As well, the newest version added Form(s) W-8 and W-9. All versions include
unlimited payers/payees, and both the Transmittal and Advisor include electronic
filing. This is a workhorse!

Pam Dickson of Plymouth, Minnesota-based Carver, Moquist & O’Connor,
LLC, said they selected Tax-Mate after searching the Internet and realizing
it had everything they were looking for in addition to the right price. “We
had trouble finding an affordable software that also prepared 1099-Rs,”
she said. “Generating W-2s and 1099s for clients isn’t considered
a profit center, so ease of use and cost are huge factors.” Dickson’s
firm has approximately 60 employees and offers the “whole plethora of
compliance work as well as QuickBooks consulting, IT consulting, and audit and

Dickson appreciates the fact that recipients and companies only have to be
entered once and can then be used across multiple recipients/companies. “Working
with small businesses, there are always related companies for which this comes
in handy,” she noted. Dickson does wish that the program were a little
more intuitive to learn: “It takes a little thought to run the program,
but once someone is given instruction it makes sense.” She’d also
like to see multi-user capabilities.

Usability/Navigation — 5 Stars
Tax-Mate features a functional user interface that provides a list of forms,
recipients and clients. Users can select from three different views: Browse,
Find and Preview. Data entry is fast. Users select a form from the Forms pull-down
menu, followed by entering payer and recipient information on the entry sheet.
Entry fields for payer and recipient use an AutoFill function that delivers
pull-down lists of available users for those groups. After selection of an existing
payer or payee, the system automatically populates the address, contact and
EIN/TIN fields on the applicable form. On-screen data entry is performed on
column-like tax forms.

While in data-entry mode, users can access form-specific IRS directions that
open in a separate window. Tax-Mate provides *.PDF versions of more than 20
IRS forms, which are very handy in teaching, answering questions and as a system
reference. Tax-Mate contains other productivity-enhancing features, including
the ability to zoom with one click, client-level password protection, spell
checking, easy duplication of records, and custom font sizes and colors. An
Error Check function performs checks on the current form or all forms. Results
of the Error Check are provided on-screen and are user-selectable to go directly
to the applicable form on which errors were found. Tax-Mate is extremely user
friendly — an efficient system with a very short learning curve.

Reporting & Import/Export Capabilities — 4.5 Stars
Tax-Mate does not import directly from any specific accounting programs. However,
it does accept files in *.CSV and many other file formats. The import utility
works via a field-matching function that permits users to quickly map an imported
data file. Tax-Mate provides self-totaling 1096 and W-3 forms and supports all
Windows-compatible printers. Tax-Mate prints on plain paper and pre-printed

Support for Paperless Transmission — 4.5 Stars
Tax-Mate Advisor and Transmittal include a handy transmission wizard that supports
electronic filing. This wizard makes the actual uploading process easier for
first-time and infrequent users, or for those who have “slept since then.”

Help/Training — 4.5 Stars
Tax-Mate offers an updated manual, HTML-based Help utility, *.PDF Help documentation,
a tutorial, access to IRS instructions, and free traditional telephone support.
All four programs and their updates are available for download
at the company’s website.

2006 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars