Tax Systems Modernization:

Unmanaged Risks Threaten Success

T-AIMD-95-86: Published: Feb 16, 1995. Publicly Released: Feb 16, 1995.

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GAO discussed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) progress with the Tax Systems Modernization (TSM) program. GAO noted that: (1) the systems IRS has implemented have only marginally improved tax processing and compliance operations because they are not integrated into TSM; (2) IRS has not fully implemented congressionally directed actions to improve its TSM program; (3) IRS has established a separate TSM management office with full authority and responsibility for all TSM priorities except the systems engineering and architect functions; (4) the management executive has taken some initial actions to consolidate his TSM responsibilities, but other important management controls are not yet in place; (5) IRS has not established a TSM implementation schedule or set program priorities; (6) IRS has established most TSM technical guidelines and is working on TSM security guidelines; (7) IRS has not set project performance measurements, but it is working on a contractor evaluation plan; (8) it may be years before IRS has the proper mix of skilled personnel to implement TSM successfully; (9) IRS is developing a revised TSM cost model and will have an independent cost analysis completed by September 1995; (10) TSM remains a high-risk program because IRS does not follow successful practices for acquiring information technology; and (11) IRS needs to initially focus on a small number of critical projects that address its TSM vision in order to gain control over many TSM risks.

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