IRS: Modernization takes people
- By Judi Hasson
- May 04, 2000
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rossotti delivered some bad
news to the Joint Committee on Taxation Wednesday: The tax collection agency
needs $42 million in 2001 to keep its modernization program afloat.
Testifying before the panel, Rossotti said the requested money, along
with the $148.4 million released last week by Congress, is necessary to
cover the expenses of reorganization mandated by the 1998 IRS Restructuring and Reform Act.
"The 2001 budget is critical. Last year, we didn't know exactly where we
were going to need resources. Now we do," Rossotti said.
The money would be earmarked to recruit, relocate and train employees
as well as purchase equipment and information services for a leaner and
more efficient IRS. He said the money is essential to keep modernization
efforts on the right path and to hire workers, whose numbers have steadily
dwindled in the 1990s.
Since 1993, while the number of individual tax returns with $100,000
in reported income has increased by 63 percent, the number of IRS workers
has dropped 17,000, making it harder to operate an efficient agency. "These
conflicting treads, increased demands and reduced staff have not been addressed
by new technology," he said.
The $5 billion, 15-year reorganization plan is supposed to modernize
an IRS computer system that is 40 years old. Rossotti said modernization
would make it easier for the IRS to monitor compliance and collect some
of the $220 billion in outstanding debts, penalties and interest.