CADE studies should provide IRS direction

IRS has experienced so many problems and delays in developing its new taxpayer database that even the agency's chief said efforts so far have failed.

But several studies evaluating IRS' management and costs of its business systems modernization are to be completed later this month and should provide some recommendations on how to fix the project in midstream, said a government official, who asked not to be named.

IRS' business modernization focuses on overhauling its 40-year-old magnetic tape Master File system, which contains the records of more than 200 million taxpayers.

The agency expects to release the first stage of the new Customer Account Data Engine next spring for about 6 million Form 1040EZ filers (Click for July 25 GCN coverage). IRS will be able to update taxpayer files in real time instead of having to submit files for weekly batch processing as it does currently with the Master File.

IRS commissioner Mark Everson said during the summer that the CADE delays were 'disturbing, especially since the General Accounting Office continues to view modernization as a 'high-risk area.' ' He reiterated those concerns in a New York Times interview published today, saying, 'The effort to update the Master File system has not been successful at all. That's something we have failed at.'

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration's office said CADE problems originated with early costly errors by the contractor, Computer Sciences Corp., and the complexity of trying to patch code in a mammoth system after the fact (Click for Aug. 4 GCN coverage).

Everson commissioned the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University in July to perform a management and technical review of CADE. Other studies the IRS commissioner will review are:

  • an analysis of business systems modernization costs, scheduling and functionality

  • the effectiveness of the Prime contract, the consortium of contractors developing CADE, by Bain and Co.

  • a benchmark comparison of the business systems modernization program cost and schedule performance by the Gartner Group

  • structure and management oversight for the CIO and deputy commissioner by SAIC

  • the effectiveness of IRS' procurement function by Acquisition Solutions Inc.

  • About the Author

    Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.


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