CSC: IRS program going well

ORLANDO, Fla. — The bad old days of once routine schedule delays and cost overruns in the Internal Revenue Service's modernization effort are over, says Paul Cofoni, president of Computer Science Corp.'s federal sector.

"Those days are done," Cofoni told Federal Computer Week. CSC leads the six-company alliance of modernization contractors; Cofoni began working on the project almost from its inception.

"We paid our price in many ways," Cofoni said. "Reputationally, financially, many of our people experienced very difficult personal hardship because of all that."

Federal and private sector officials started modernizing the agency's 40-year-old tax processing technology during a four-year period and saw the effort nearly crash in 2003. After some studies, recommendations and personnel changes, "the vast majority of the lessons learned have been learned," Cofoni said. "The right corrective actions have been taken to keep us out of trouble."

Today, two of the three major components needed to move from Kennedy-era magnetic tape technology to online digital processing are in place, Cofoni said. The master tape's 21st century replacement, the Customer Data Account Engine, first successfully processed a batch of simple tax returns last summer and agency officials say the system is on track to complete more than 2 million returns this year.

CSC and IRS personnel had to design the new database to full capacity and construct an interface with the old system, Cofoni said. What remains is programming the entire U.S. tax code into CADE.

A pilot program that began Jan. 18, scheduled to end Aug. 15, will help determine the next steps, Cofoni said. Officials are considering whether program each business rule using C ++, the existing default programming language, or use to a newer approach based on a business rules engine.

For the first releases of CADE, programmers used C++ to enter the about 500 rules governing 1040EZ forms into the system

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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