April 21, 2024

Information Technology: IRS Needs to Complete Modernization Plans and Fully Address Cloud Computing Requirements

Information Technology: IRS Needs to Complete Modernization Plans and Fully Address Cloud Computing Requirements

What GAO Discovered

The Internal Earnings Service’s (IRS) legacy IT surroundings contains programs, software, and hardware, which are outdated but still crucial to working day-to-working day operations. Specifically, GAO’s assessment showed that about 33 percent of the purposes, 23 per cent of the application instances in use, and 8 percent of components belongings had been regarded legacy. This features purposes ranging from 25 to 64 decades in age, as effectively as software program up to 15 variations at the rear of the latest model. As GAO has beforehand mentioned, and IRS has acknowledged, these legacy assets will continue on to lead to protection pitfalls, unmet mission wants, staffing problems, and increased prices.

Modernization ideal tactics phone for documenting ideas that involve a few essential components: milestones, function to be executed, and disposition of legacy methods. As of August 2022, IRS had documented options for the 21 modernization initiatives that had been underway, like nine involved with legacy programs. All 21 designs tackled two essential features. Even so, the strategies for 6 of the 9 initiatives did not deal with the disposition of legacy units (see desk). Officers mentioned they would handle this critical factor at the acceptable time in the initiatives’ lifecycle nevertheless, they did not detect time frames for executing so.

GAO Assessment of the Interior Earnings Service’s (IRS) Modernization Ideas as of August 2022

Modernization system factor



Not applicable

Involves milestones


Describes get the job done to be done


Features disposition of legacy units




Resource: GAO assessment of IRS documents. | GAO-23-104719

aThese initiatives were being not related with legacy units.

IRS just lately suspended operations of 6 initiatives, which include two which are crucial to changing the 60-12 months previous Particular person Grasp File (IMF). The IMF is the authoritative information source for unique tax account facts. GAO has claimed that IRS has been operating to replace IMF for effectively above a decade. In accordance to officials, the suspensions ended up thanks to IRS’s determination to shift sources to increased priorities employees associates performing on these suspended initiatives ended up reassigned to other tasks. As a outcome, the timetable for these initiatives is now undetermined. Appropriately, the 2030 goal completion day for changing the IMF that IRS declared final year is now unknown. This will lead to mounting issues in continuing to rely on a essential method with application composed in an archaic language necessitating specialized abilities.

IRS’s cloud computing attempts thoroughly dealt with 11, partially tackled a single, and did not handle two prerequisites determined in the Business office of Administration and Budget’s June 2019 cloud computing strategy. Important shortfalls consist of IRS not conducting frequent evaluations of purchaser ordeals and user wants. Right until IRS entirely addresses all cloud computing needs, it will have considerably less assurance that it is adopting cloud answers that proficiently and effectively enable it fulfill its mission needs and safeguard delicate taxpayer info.

Why GAO Did This Study

IRS relies thoroughly on IT to each year acquire trillions of dollars in taxes, distribute hundreds of billions of pounds in refunds, and carry out its mission of supplying provider to America’s taxpayers in assembly their tax obligations. This reliance on IT consists of a sizeable amount of money of out-of-date legacy systems that pose risks. At the same time, IRS has progressively utilized web-based mostly computing services (i.e., cloud solutions) to deal with its IT modernization wants.

GAO was asked to review IRS’s legacy atmosphere and cloud computing implementation. This report, between other points, 1) describes IRS’s legacy IT surroundings 2) assesses IRS’s modernization programs and 3) evaluates its cloud computing efforts.

To do so, GAO analyzed legacy programs, software package, and components knowledge assessed ideas for 21 modernization initiatives versus practices identified in prior GAO do the job and in comparison IRS’s cloud computing documentation to relevant federal prerequisites. GAO also interviewed knowledgeable IRS officers.