Key IRS projects at risk, GAO warns

Key IRS projects at risk, GAO warns

By Preeti Vasishtha

GCN Staff


JULY 3'IRS systems modernization projects are at risk for cost overruns, delays and performance shortfalls because the agency lacks a sufficiently defined enterprise architecture to guide and constrain them, the General Accounting Office said.

The findings come on the heels of public assertions by IRS officials that they plan to complete several projects over the next 12 months to improve customer service, strengthen the agency's infrastructure and begin replacing the tape-driven Master File System.

GAO auditors noted that deployment of the Customer Communications 2001 project, a telephone system designed to answer callers' questions faster and more accurately, is three months behind schedule. GAO's findings were part of a report, Business Systems Modernization: Results of Review of IRS' March 2001 Expenditure Plan, released yesterday.

An infrastructure project, the Security and Technology Infrastructure Release, which IRS officials have said will define standards for security, operating systems and hardware platforms, is nearly five months behind schedule, the report said.

The IRS should complete and implement its enterprise architecture and other missing management controls and capabilities, the GAO recommended. It also said the agency should slow its ongoing projects and stagger new projects until the controls and capabilities are fully implemented.

Accepting the GAO's findings, IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti said the agency will work to implement management controls to ensure the success of the modernization.

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