For two years in a row, taxpayers have been afforded a grace period for submissions due to COVID-19, and the recent one-month deadline extension for 2021 has many financially strained Americans breathing a sigh of relief. Those paying close attention to the headlines would notice this is mutually beneficial, and with the IRS entering crunch time, drastic changes to its IT outlook are in order.
National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins said, “Core IT upgrades are more than just about improving taxpayer service – they are also required to reduce the chances of a catastrophic breakdown. Modernizing technology is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity, and it is needed now. Imagine the panic and pandemonium that would ensue if the IRS’s IT systems crashed and could not be recovered quickly.” The ground zero for a meaningful metamorphosis into a more efficient, user-friendly system for the IRS begins with the shedding of antiquated legacy systems.
A recent report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that more than 230 of these quarter century-old legacy IT systems are still in operation today. The decision to either retool them to facilitate modern business or throw them by the wayside will be critical to the endeavor and will require a detailed roadmap. The IRS will embark on this journey with an outside contractor and will collaborate on entirely new tax processes along the way.
This IT arrangement could reach its $2.6 billion potential if the contractor’s services extend to all main IRS tax systems. Producing a projected 2.5 million labor hours per year, this work would spread across 10 or more employment distinctions. The IRS will use a single-instance governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC) to engage a block of contractors carefully scrutinized by a third-party agency. A request for information was due on March 31st from those interested this The Enterprise Development, Operations Services (EDOS) contract.
The IRS needs immediate help with its information technology law enforcement Management Information Systems (MIS). CIMIS, made in 2005, and AFTRACK from 2010, interweave applications for reputable vendors but show their age with a backlog of over 400 open items/tickets. These legacy applications use custom code language, have limited accessibility beyond IRS’s internal networks, and receive an average 17 new enhancement requests per year over the last four. System managers are banking on contractor support to enable 6-8 deployments annually in an attempt to clean up the data clutter.
Recent data hacking scandals make a strong case for strengthening IT security in tax programming, but the IRS already deals with a constant deluge of malicious activity. An email scam using students as marks is making the rounds at private and public, profit and non-profit educational institutions. Official-looking subject lines and form submissions have fooled many into giving away personal information and even Social Security numbers. Phishing attempts are pervasive to a degree that the IRS must not only further protect its customers with smarter IT facilitation but also build its own solid network of programs to safely manage data volume and find new avenues of innovation.