The Internal Revenue Service has introduced a six-year plan in an effort to modernize the agency’s Information Technology systems and help improve many taxpayer services critical to the nation’s tax system.

The plan offers a strategy to enable business transformation focused on improving services for taxpayers and the tax community while protecting taxpayer data, according to an IRS press release.

“Modernized systems are the key component to delivering quality service to taxpayers, providing efficient and robust enforcement activities and keeping taxpayer data secure,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Our modernization plan includes multiple milestones and levels of accountability to ensure it is implemented efficiently and effectively. The integrity of our nation’s tax system depends on modernizing IRS operations and the supporting technical pieces. We look forward to working with Congress to implement this plan.”

Referred to as the IRS Integrated Modernization Business Plan it is expected to cost between $2.3 billion to $2.7 billion over a 6-year period through Fiscal Year 2024, the IRS said in the release. Some of the plan’s components are in place for 2019, and the administration’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020 includes $290 million in funding for the plan, it said.

The plan has been created around four “Modernization Pillars”  said to help drive innovation and support the future of the IRS and its mission. The four pillars are: the taxpayer experience, core taxpayer services and enforcement, modernized IRS operations, as well as cybersecurity and data protection, the release said.

“A critical component of the plan involves the IRS’s ongoing efforts to secure our systems and protect taxpayer data,” Rettig said. “The IRS is responsible for safeguarding a vast amount of sensitive financial and personal data involving every taxpayer and business in the nation. This is an area where we cannot fail for the safety of our nation, and modernizing our technology is critical to stay ahead of constant cyber-attacks on our systems.”

The four modernization pillars and material in the plan were based on extensive review by IRS, outside experts, and ongoing input and needs from stakeholders and partners in the tax community.

The plan envisions the IRS being able to:

  • Significantly improve the taxpayer experience by standardizing customer workflows and by expanding access to information.
  • Reduce call wait and case resolution times with customer callback technology, online notices, and live online customer support.
  • Simplify identity verification to expand access to online services while protecting data.
  • Increase systems availability for taxpayers and tax practitioners.
  • Make implementation of new tax provisions more straightforward.

Additional specifics on individual programs are highlighted in the plan. The IRS will implement this plan in two three-year phases, monitor its progress and adjust investment decisions as part of updating the plan, it said.

A key aspect of the plan should allow the IRS to modernize key systems and stabilize the cost of maintaining the technology ecosystem. Modernizing IRS systems creates opportunities to potentially reinvest savings to keep technology current and on pace with evolving taxpayer expectations.

The plan, which will be dependent on future funding, also includes milestones and accountability to ensure it is implemented efficiently and effectively.

The IRS will provide regular reporting to Congress and oversight organizations as well as work with partners in the tax community as we implement the plan, it said in the release.

More information can be found in Fact Sheet 2019-9, IRS Modernization Plan provides plan to improve services for taxpayers, tax community.

Source: IRS