IRS announces multi-year plan to update, modernize IT systems; Effort focused on improved taxpayer services, expanded cybersecurity and taxpayer data protections


IR-2019-77, April 18, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service released today a six-year plan PDF to modernize the agency’s Information Technology systems and improve a variety of taxpayer services critical to the nation’s tax system.

The plan outlines a bold strategy to enable business transformation focused on improving services for taxpayers and the tax community while protecting taxpayer data.

“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.”

The IRS Integrated Modernization Business Plan is anticipated to cost between $2.3 billion to $2.7 billion over six years through Fiscal Year 2024. Some components of the plan are in place for the current year, and the administration’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020 includes $290 million in funding for the plan.

The plan is built around four “Modernization Pillars” that will help drive innovation and support the future of the IRS and its mission. These pillars are: the taxpayer experience, core taxpayer services and enforcement, modernized IRS operations as well as cybersecurity and data protection.

“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 as well as 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.

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 in order 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.

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