Addition by subtraction

Working with Computer Sciences Corp., the IRS has developed a plan to phase

in a master database, put even the most complicated forms online and make

it easier for taxpayers to talk to the IRS.

Among the innovations on the drawing board:

* Reducing the number of major computers needed to run the system from

40 down to 20.

* Cutting the number of computer sites from 12 to three.

* Creating the ability to update files immediately. Currently, updates

can take a week or more.

* Building a secure system to assure taxpayers that digital filing

will protect their privacy, most likely by using public-key infrastructure

technology.

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