the August 2004 Issue of
1099 Express — 1099 Express & W-2 Express
produces its self-named 1099 preparation software and a separate program named
W-2 Express. The $199 1099 program prepares all versions of form 1099, as well
as 1098 and 5498-IRA. It also supports combined federal/state filing. The new
$149 W-2 Express module handles compliance for forms W-2 and W-3. Both programs
cost $95 for renewals and support an unlimited number of filers and
Usability/Navigation - 4 Stars
Although both programs have a spreadsheet-like grid and the look and feel of Excel, they are stand-alone programs, and do not require Excel or any other programs.
The programs open to a spreadsheet list of payees for a specific client, which can be chosen using the Open Folder icon on the toolbar. The spreadsheet shows sortable columns for each of the lines on the related tax form (1099, W-2), which fills the screen somewhat awkwardly but provides instant viewing of all data without having to actually open the form for a payee. Columns can be re-sized to view user-specific data more easily.
Client/payer information is entered through a tabbed window accessed through the Company button, where users can access and edit existing clients, open a different one, or add new clients. When a company database is selected, its payees appear in the spreadsheet list, where double-clicking on an entry will open the form for that recipient. Data entry is performed directly on replicas of the actual form, which helps with the comfort level for users. A simple checkbox on the form during data entry enables a feature that automatically calculates W-2 FICA amounts.
Both programs provide good features, including an audit report, search tools, the ability to print test pages on plain or form paper, and the ability to copy and paste data directly from external spreadsheets. The toolbar icons include mouse- over information that helps new or infrequent users find appropriate functions.
Reporting & Import/Export Capabilities- 5 Stars
Both 1099 Express and W-2 Express can import data from Excel, and users can copy and paste spreadsheet data as well. This support enables drawing data from delimited and fixed text files, as well as *.CSV, dBase, Lotus, Quattro and Works formats. It also allows you to retrieve data from QuickBooks, Access, Peachtree and any other programs that can save to Excel format. The programs include sample Excel and Access files to help demonstrate the import process. 1099 Express and W-2 Express report import data errors and allow edits, which are performed directly on the form replicas.
The programs support all Windows-compatible printers and can be used to print on pre-printed forms or can print approved laser-generated forms on blank paper.
Support for Paperless Transmission - 4 Stars
The 1099 Express and W-2 Express programs can be used to file these forms magnetically or electronically with the SSA and IRS. The programs guide users through the process of entering data and saving it to disk or uploading the files. The company also offers a service bureau through which it files 1099 records electronically for $75 (for the first client file) and only $50 for subsequent files, regardless of the number of payees for each client.
Help/Training - 3.5 Stars
1099 Express and W-2 Express host decent table of contents-style help utilities, as well as production-focused help capabilities such as mouse over information and right-click menus for cutting and pasting. The company does not offer training, but sample data files help explain many of the processes. Free support is included with the software license.
Relative Value - 4 Stars
Both of these programs are available for download from the company’s web site, as well as demonstration versions, which are complete working programs with limited printing capabilities. The fully operational demonstration versions allow users to test importing, printing, data entry, data validation and reporting before their purchase. If a user likes Excel, this software will instantly feel like home. The programs are best suited to smaller professional practices but are inexpensive and easy enough for use in-house by small businesses.
2004 OVERALL RATING: