Tax agency plans a well-earned upgrade for form imaging system

The IRS this summer will begin upgrading the Service Center Recognition Image
Processing System, its imaging workhorse.

“I feel good about the upgrade,” said Judy L. Thomas, SCRIPS program manager.
“It was not a Y2K decision; it was a business decision.”

The IRS in January 1995 went online with the $88 million SCRIPS at five of its 10
service centers. The system uses optical character recognition and image processing to
collect and store tax data from some agency forms.

SCRIPS processes three different tax form families—a total of 32 forms—five
days a week, 14 hours a day, Thomas said. The system has processed a peak of 3.9 million
forms in one week. The system handles the service’s simple forms.

Goals for the upgrade include increasing overall volume and efficiency during the
service’s peak season, said Jim Gander, director of federal imaging and knowledge
management at Logicon Inc.

The Herndon, Va., company is the SCRIPS contractor.

The IRS next month will begin replacing SCRIPS hardware and software in a pilot program
at its Cincinnati service center.

Then, by October, the agency plans to complete upgrades at the Memphis, Tenn., Kansas
City, Mo., Austin, Texas, and Ogden, Utah, service centers, and at IRS headquarters,
Gander said.

The service will spend approximately $8 million on the SCRIPS upgrade, which includes
replacing the system’s 3555 servers from NCR Corp. of Dayton, Ohio, with 360-MHz
Hewlett-Packard PA-8500 N-Class servers.

“We were the first to get the N-Class servers,” said Gander, who will manage
the installation of the eight HP servers. “They are the best midclass machines
available on the market.”

The IRS will also replace tape drives from Hi-Par Systems Inc. of Santa Ana, Calif.,
with AIT2 drives from Spectra Logic Corp. of Boulder, Colo., and NCR OCR engines with OCR
engines from AEG Technologies Inc. of Richardson, Texas.

The face-lift also will include the addition of routers and switches from Bay Networks
Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.

The volume of paperwork generated during tax processing season necessitated updating
systems and improving operational efficiency, Gander said.

The IRS wanted the capability of electronically scanning, storing and processing 1040EZ
forms, the 1099 information return and federal tax deposits into one cohesive system,
Thomas said.

SCRIPS’ future use will be affected by the IRS’ broader modernization
efforts, for which it last year awarded the $5 billion, 15-year Prime contract to Computer
Sciences Corp. [GCN, Dec. 14, 1998, Page 1].

Over the past four years, the service has spent $160 million on SCRIPS upgrades,
software changes, maintenance and equipment. The system has yielded a great return on
investment—a system effectiveness rate of 99 percent—during the period, Gander

Since 1995, SCRIPS has processed 110 million to 130 million forms each year.


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