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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

IRS walks fine line on modernization cost schedule budget: GAO

"The IRS is trying to balance getting its Business Systems Modernization projects delivered on time and within cost on a lean budget, while meeting additional congressional mandates for performance accountability to gain access to its funds.

Even if the tax agency stays on top of cost and schedules, tighter budgets may mean delaying functionality in some versions later this year, contributing to delays and higher costs, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The IRS needs to use more recent and complete status information on which to base its annual expenditure plan for Business Systems Modernization. The tax agency, however, satisfied the conditions set by Congress to gain access to funds for its modernization program last year and has improved the risk management of the program, GAO said in a new report.

The IRS deployed some of its BSM releases in 2005 within cost and on schedule, including versions of its taxpayer database, the Customer Account Data Engine, the e-Services portal for tax practitioners, and Modernized e-File, an electronic filing system for corporate returns. Others, however, were delayed or incurred more costs, such as the Integrated Financial System initial release. "

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