IRS Modernization Plan provides plan to improve services for taxpayers, tax community

FS-2019-9, April 2019

The multi-year IRS Modernization Plan includes dozens of initiatives to improve how the agency interacts with taxpayers and the tax community while continuing to strengthen cybersecurity protections and information technology systems. The initiatives, including those underway and others, will enhance taxpayer service and enforcement activities over the next several years.

The plan provides a six-year strategy to modernize IRS Information technology systems and build critical infrastructure needed for the future of the nation’s tax system. The plan, which will be dependent on future funding, also includes business goals, multiple milestones and levels of accountability. The IRS will monitor and adjust the plan to account for emerging legislative and business requirements, tax community feedback and technology advancements. 

Modernization delivers benefits to taxpayers and the tax community

Faced with complex tax laws and time constraints, the IRS has had to continuously add systems to its IT environment. The result is a highly complex technical ecosystem; the cost of which is growing on an unsustainable trajectory.

The IRS seeks to accelerate the transformation of its technology infrastructure and adopt innovations that make it possible for sustained improvements to taxpayer service and enforcement while stabilizing maintenance costs. The plan calls for delivering new capabilities each year for the next six years that will: 

  • Consistently provide superior service to taxpayers and the tax community
  • Enable a strong and secure systems platform for taxpayer-facing applications
  • Expand the digital conversion of paper case files and documentation
  • Leverage existing data to detect tax noncompliance earlier
  • Deliver long-term budget and personnel efficiencies as the IRS decommissions legacy IT applications, automates manual processes and expands advanced analytics programs
  • Stabilize the rising cost of maintaining legacy applications and infrastructure
  • Reinvest savings to keep technology current and expand digital services consistent with similar trends in the private sector

More web tools, online applications, advanced analytics and enhanced cybersecurity part of Four “Modernization Pillars” of IRS modernization

The IRS identified four “Modernization Pillars” that reflect the scope of the agency’s mission and future development needs. Initiatives that help accelerate the IRS IT transformation have been grouped under each pillar. Over time, the IRS plans to include new initiatives based on emerging priorities and advances in technology, consistent with the broad outlines of the modernization pillars and input from partners in the tax community.

Taxpayer Experience

The IRS will expand digital options, improve traditional channels, and provide simplified and proactive services for taxpayers and their representatives.

Core Taxpayer Services and Enforcement

Tax experience relies upon integrated case management, account management, and real time tax processing so that employees and taxpayers have a complete view of their interactions and history, regardless of the channel or the employee assigned.

Modernized IRS Operations

The IRS will use innovative technologies and processes, such as Cloud, Agile, DevOps, Application Programming Interfaces, robotic process automation, and next generation infrastructure to reduce costs and manual effort.

Cybersecurity & Data Protection

The IRS will protect taxpayer data using advanced analytics and tools, and align to government-wide cybersecurity standards and priorities

Modernization costs estimates, oversight and accountability

The IRS will modernize its systems and taxpayer services in two three-year phases beginning in Fiscal Year 2019. The overall feasibility, approach, schedule, cost, and the IRS’s capacity to deliver have been independently reviewed and validated. The IRS estimates costs of approximately $2.3 billion to $2.7 billion over six years to fully implement the modernization initiatives.

The speed at which new capabilities can be delivered will depend, in part, on the agency’s annual funding levels. The IRS will provide regular reporting to Congress and oversight organizations. The IRS will also work with partners in the tax community as the we implement and update the plan.