IRS builds portals into next blueprint

The Internal Revenue Service's latest blueprint for modernization will include

plans for three portals to access IRS computer systems.

The blueprint, to be released Dec. 18, maps out using single points

of entry — a model being used increasingly for the government to provide

swift and secure access to information.

Paul Cosgrave, chief information officer at the IRS, said the blueprint

would reflect a Web-oriented approach that was not in place when the first

blueprint was released in 1997. "There is a lot more thinking around orientation

and using Web and portal technology," he said Wednesday.

The blueprint includes plans for three portals: one for employees; one

for registered users, such as tax accountants filing returns electronically

for clients; and one for taxpayers.

"The blueprint itself is the technical vision of what the systems will

look like at the end of modernization. It doesn't get you down to where

every nail gets hammered down," Cosgrave said. Although the blueprint does

not include a price for the massive project, it will lay out the strategy

for designing and implementing the next phase of the IRS' Prime modernization

program, which is expected to take five to seven years.

The overall project is a 10-year, multibillion-dollar effort to turn

the tax agency into a fully automated system. Computer Sciences Corp. is

the prime contractor.

The IRS will continue to phase in new segments as they become available,

including an automated telephone system early next year.

Meanwhile, Cosgrave said the $200 million released for the program by

Congress on Tuesday would be used within the next few weeks to take some

projects from the planning stage to the design phase. It is the largest

single release of funds since the project to turn the IRS into a paperless

agency began, he said.

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