IRS ready to test date codes in mission-critical systems

The IRS will test its mission-critical systems for year 2000 readiness using an offline
test bed.


To check its code fixes, the IRS will roll over date code in 97 systems to a full set
of systems and telecommunications equipment identical to those in regular use, said John
Yost, program director for the IRS’ Century Date Change Project.


Yost outlined the IRS plan this month at the Council for Electronic Revenue
Communications Advancement Conference in Washington.


The test will include code for both the main tax gathering and processing systems as
well as agency support systems, said Jerry Agee, vice president of the information systems
division at TRW Inc., which is building the test bed for the IRS.


The service will test hardware, operating systems, software applications, internal and
external communications links and interfaces, and database applications, Agee said.


The IRS has 89 mainframes, 1,500 minicomputers, 151,000 PCs, 79,000 applications and 50
million lines of code, Yost said, adding,


“We have more PCs than we have people.”


The service plans to scale down its systems architecture as it modernizes its business
practices and organization over the coming months, Yost said. The IRS replaced 40,000 PCs
last year and will replace another 30,000 this year, he said.


The IRS’ 79,000 applications include custom software and multiple versions of many
commercial packages. The IRS will reduce its software to about 60 application sets, Yost
said.


TRW will run the simulation tests at the IRS’ Memphis, Tenn., computing center,
Agee said. The IRS ran a 30-day test of its Memphis systems in July, Agee said.


The IRS this month began testing its initial tax processing applications and will
likely finish the tests in December, Agee said. The service expects to run systems testing
from January to March.


The IRS will use the date-code-corrected hardware and software in its live systems for
processing returns for next year’s tax filing season, Yost said.


Tests of non-mission critical systems will be handled by the IRS departments that run
them, Yost said.    

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