After five years, a project to replace the Internal Revenue Service's aging file-keeping computer system with modern technology is so far behind schedule that the I.R.S. has told the prime contractor that unless it improves its performance by the end of the month, the government may have no choice but to fire it.
The project, which was expected to cost $8 billion when completed, has spent less than $1 billion so far, but it is already 40 percent over budget for what it has done, according to the I.R.S. Oversight Board, an independent watchdog body that Congress created in 1998.
"Major corporations often upgrade their systems as technology improves," the Times reports. "The I.R.S. went four decades with the same system because two previous modernization attempts, the most recent in the mid-1990's, failed, costing taxpayers $4 billion." And things could get even worse for the agency, because "the few people who could keep the old system functioning are close to retiring."