Tax System Modernization:

An Assessment of IRS' Design Master Plan

IMTEC-91-53BR: Published: Jun 25, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 1991.

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GAO analyzed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Design Master Plan for its Tax System Modernization (TSM) program, focusing on: (1) business vision; (2) key planning components; (3) accountability; (4) risk management; and (5) technical personnel needs.

GAO found that: (1) although the plan made no reference to an IRS business vision, IRS acknowledged that it should comprehensibly state and integrate such a vision in the baseline plan; (2) there were no detailed strategies or set standards for integrating the modernized systems; (3) IRS identified implementation plans, but transition plans were incomplete; (4) although the plan established modernization priorities, some priorities changed since the September 1990 draft plan; (5) objectives for meeting goals and setting milestones were incomplete; (6) the plan did not specify the IRS organizations responsible for the major TSM initiatives; (7) the plan partially discussed security risks, but failed to discuss taxpayer privacy risks; (8) the plan did not address technology availability and breakthrough risks; (9) although the plan stated the need for a staff with strong technical skills, it did not identify the specific types of technical disciplines needed or provide a personnel recruiting, training, and retention strategy; and (10) IRS planned to incorporate such issues as IRS business vision, monitoring, and security and technology risks into its September 1991 baseline plan and make periodic updates to address remaining issues as they developed.

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