IRS' blueprint has vision for portals

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, will describe the use of single

points of entry — a model increasingly utilized by 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

one was released in 1997. Now, "there is a lot more thinking around orientation

and using Web and portal technology," he said.

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," Cosgrave said. "It doesn't get you

down to where every nail gets hammered down." 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 Congress released Nov. 28

for the program would be tapped within the next few weeks to take some projects

from the planning stage to the design phase.

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