Sunday, August 01, 2010

Form 1099

There was a hullaballo recently over some recent legislation - next year every business transaction that exceeds $600 per vendor requires a form 1099.  Looked over the spec (pdf) for doing this electronically.

From my nerdly POV it's a little odd but nothing so very bad.  Each record submitted has 750 positions, each position has data, if not it's blank.  If it's odd but it's standard and you can work with it.

This made me pause;

Position: 518
Field Title: Vendor Indicator
Length: 1
Description: Required.  Enter the appropriate code from the table below to indicate if your software was provided by a vendor or produced in-house.

I cannot imagine why the IRS would care if the bits are from a program written 'in house' or from a vendor, how it would enable them to more efficiently execute their mission.  Somewhere a clerk or two are making a tidy living compiling statistics that no one can use and only they care about.

As for the actual system - the way the IRS wants you to do it is login to a web page and upload each record one attachment at a time.  Come back in a day or two [1] and see that the file was entered correctly.

Which ... geez .. it works but man it sounds so clunky.  No wonder business guys are raising holy heck about it. 

[1] In my minds eye there are a pair of IBM micro-computers chugging away on the files using a really cleaver batch file to upload the data to a mainframe.

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