IRS shuts down mainframes

The Internal Revenue Service has completed a cornerstone of its systems modernization program by cutting the number of mainframe computers it uses from 67 in 12 locations to 20 mainframes at just three data processing centers.

"The success of the mainframe consolidation project provides a solid foundation from which to build our modernized systems," said IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti.

The consolidated system represents a combination of Unisys Corp. and IBM Corp. systems that support and manage data from more than 128 million tax returns each year. The three sites are located in Martinsburg, W. Va., Memphis, Tenn., and Detroit.

Unisys said the consolidation would enable the IRS to respond to calls more quickly and increase the availability of customer service, moving the tax agency closer to giving taxpayers around-the-clock access to their accounts.

In addition, the consolidation beefed up the tax agency's data storage and protection capacities.

The consolidation lays the groundwork for the IRS's 15-year modernization program that is expected to cost at least $10 billion and turn the tax agency into a paperless system.

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