Data Technology_ IRS Must Full Modernization Plans and Totally Tackle Cloud Computing Necessities

What GAO Discovered

The Inside Income Service’s (IRS) legacy IT setting consists of purposes, software program, and {hardware}, that are outdated however nonetheless crucial to day-to-day operations. Particularly, GAO’s evaluation confirmed that about 33 % of the purposes, 23 % of the software program situations in use, and eight % of {hardware} property have been thought-about legacy. This consists of purposes starting from 25 to 64 years in age, in addition to software program as much as 15 variations behind the present model. As GAO has beforehand famous, and IRS has acknowledged, these legacy property will proceed to contribute to safety dangers, unmet mission wants, staffing points, and elevated prices.

Modernization greatest practices name for documenting plans that embrace three key parts: milestones, work to be carried out, and disposition of legacy methods. As of August 2022, IRS had documented plans for the 21 modernization initiatives that have been underway, together with 9 related to legacy methods. All 21 plans addressed two key parts. Nevertheless, the plans for six of the 9 initiatives didn’t deal with the disposition of legacy methods (see desk). Officers said they might deal with this key factor on the acceptable time within the initiatives’ lifecycle; nonetheless, they didn’t determine time frames for doing so.

GAO Evaluation of the Inside Income Service’s (IRS) Modernization Plans as of August 2022

Modernization plan factor Sure No Not relevant Consists of milestones 21 0 0 Describes work to be carried out 21 0 0 Consists of disposition of legacy methods 3 6 12a

Supply: GAO evaluation of IRS paperwork. | GAO-23-104719

aThese initiatives weren’t related to legacy methods.

IRS lately suspended operations of six initiatives, together with two that are important to changing the 60-year outdated Particular person Grasp File (IMF). The IMF is the authoritative information supply for particular person tax account information. GAO has reported that IRS has been working to interchange IMF for nicely over a decade. In keeping with officers, the suspensions have been as a result of IRS’s dedication to shift assets to larger priorities; workers members engaged on these suspended initiatives have been reassigned to different initiatives. Consequently, the schedule for these initiatives is now undetermined. Accordingly, the 2030 goal completion date for changing the IMF that IRS introduced final 12 months is now unknown. This may result in mounting challenges in persevering with to depend on a crucial system with software program written in an archaic language requiring specialised expertise.

IRS’s cloud computing efforts absolutely addressed 11, partially addressed one, and didn’t deal with two necessities recognized within the Workplace of Administration and Price range’s June 2019 cloud computing technique. Key shortfalls embrace IRS not conducting common evaluations of buyer experiences and consumer wants. Till IRS absolutely addresses all cloud computing necessities, it is going to have much less assurance that it’s adopting cloud options that effectively and successfully assist it meet its mission wants and defend delicate taxpayer info.

Why GAO Did This Research

IRS depends extensively on IT to yearly gather trillions of {dollars} in taxes, distribute a whole lot of billions of {dollars} in refunds, and perform its mission of offering service to America’s taxpayers in assembly their tax obligations. This reliance on IT features a vital quantity of outdated legacy methods that pose dangers. On the identical time, IRS has more and more used internet-based computing companies (i.e., cloud companies) to deal with its IT modernization wants.

GAO was requested to assessment IRS’s legacy setting and cloud computing implementation. This report, amongst different issues, 1) describes IRS’s legacy IT setting; 2) assesses IRS’s modernization plans; and three) evaluates its cloud computing efforts.

To take action, GAO analyzed legacy purposes, software program, and {hardware} information; assessed plans for 21 modernization initiatives towards practices recognized in prior GAO work; and in contrast IRS’s cloud computing documentation to related federal necessities. GAO additionally interviewed educated IRS officers.