IRS missing some conditions, GAO reports

The Internal Revenue Service has met some — but not all — of the requirements

Congress spelled out to keep money flowing into a computer modernization

system, according to a General Accounting Office report.

The Nov. 8 GAO report gave the tax agency some high marks for handling

the 15-year, multibillion-dollar project to streamline the IRS and turn

it into a paperless agency. But GAO also said the IRS still must shore up

management weaknesses before the agency begins building "software-intensive


Although the IRS did not meet all of the congressional requirements

for this year, the GAO report said money would continue to flow to keep

the project moving. The IRS is expected to receive a total of $200 million

for projects in 2001.

"IRS has not fully satisfied all of the conditions...for further release

of [modernization] funds. However, IRS has moved aggressively and has made

important progress in addressing its modernization management weaknesses,

and it has similarly made progress on project initiatives," the report stated.

Among the problems the report cited:

* The IRS did not adhere to the funding plan approved by Congress.

* The IRS approved a project to begin the detailed design and development

phase without sufficient preliminary work.

In a letter to GAO, IRS chief information officer Paul Cosgrave defended

the agency and said it has made progress in the past 14 months in planning

the modernization program.

"While not without start-up problems, our initial experience with this

program compares favorably with successful business systems programs in

the private and public sectors," Cosgrave said.

Congress is closely watching the IRS modernization project — the agency's

second attempt to phase out its legacy system and replace it with a fully

automated one. Lawmakers imposed strict controls and required the IRS to

get approval for all expenditures in the wake of a previous modernization

project that was declared a failure in 1997 after wasting $3 billion.


  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

  • Comment
    Pilot Class. The author and Barbie Flowers are first row third and second from right, respectively.

    How VA is disrupting tech delivery

    A former Digital Service specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs explains efforts to transition government from a legacy "project" approach to a more user-centered "product" method.

Stay Connected


Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.