IRS Pushes New Systems Plan

The IRS yesterday announced a new plan to revamp its computer systems that it says will integrate its databases and processing systems, speed up refund time and move the agency toward a paperless system.

After reaping piles of scorn for its failed Tax System Modernization (TSM) for several years, the IRS met a congressional deadline yesterday to submit a new blueprint for fixing its modernization program.

"The blueprint represents a new way of doing business at the IRS," the plan says. "It is the first comprehensive attempt to form a strategic partnership with the private sector in order to address the problems of the past and ensure that the IRS is flexible for the future."

Under the plan, the IRS will issue a request for comments about it from the private sector. After the comment period, the agency will search for a prime contractor to run the modernization.

"The primary failure of TSM was the result of inadequate design and planning," IRS admits in the new plan.

The blueprint calls for:

  • A centralized mainframe computer system that is capable of adapting to changes in tax law.
  • A user-friendly interface for IRS employees that will allow them to access customer information from one terminal instead of the five to nine terminals they must currently use.
  • A centralized database that better analyzes taxpayer records to improve compliance.
  • An interactive system that will move the IRS toward a paperless system, thereby reducing costs and improving refund time.

The IRS plans to implement the modernization in five phases, beginning in late 1998.

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