More IRS News

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It isn't just the FBI that's having computer troubles. Reader Dave Gross passes along this nugget from the New York Times:

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."

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  1. If it’s a 7090, I can help.

  2. Maybe you can all hope that they old system fails before they replace it and the IRS will lose all records of your existence.

  3. I say make them use index cards. And let me make up the filing system.

  4. In Bloom County, when Oliver Jones removed his Dad from the IRS computer system, his Dad winked out of existence. Be careful.

  5. So that’s why I got a $456,000 refund last year.

  6. National sales tax, would fix that problem nicely.

  7. If they just tax States, they’d only have to keep 50 records. 🙂

  8. What I’d like to know is, what about the system could possibly cost 8 billion? Writing business rules and a presentation layer? Migrating/adapting 200 million records (which is no more difficult or intensive than migrating 200,000 records)? Unless the keyboards are made of solid gold the price tag is inexcusably high.

    For sheer spite I hope the system crashes. Spectacularly.

  9. Your accounting procedures are getting as bad as the French tax system. 🙂 Luckily there have been no calls for an “upgrade” yet. 🙂

  10. Hey, why don’t we just tax France?

  11. Being in a generous and socially responsible frame of mind today, I offer to complete the job for one half the stated cost, or, that is, just $4 billion.

  12. sorry madog that makes too much sense and was what the founders put in the constitution. can’t have any of that!

  13. The amount of information they must have is gigantic. I once worked in a Social Security file site– one of many. It was in a cave. It was so big walking from one side to the other was a considerable journey. There were MILLIONS of pounds of documents, acres and acres of stuff. And this was just for the midwest division of SS. There were peoples whose only job was pulling files, and managers whose only job was to manage the file pullers.

    The IRS probably has similiar problems… along with any number of entrenched professionals whose jobs will neccesarily be eliminated by updating the system. Dealing with file systems is a nightmare. It gets very complicated and amazingly tedious after the first 5 minutes for even relativly small systems. I shed a tear for the poor bastards who have to deal with the gigantic, stupendous, and probably mismanaged filing systems employed by big government agencies.

  14. I have a system that wouldn’t cost much and would cut the amount of people needed at the IRS by 99%. Its called a flat tax. What you do is take a certain percentage out of everyone’s check and thats it no deductions for anything. You pay it and thats all. I imagine this system will have us all around $8 billion to start and many more after it is put into use since we will no longer need accountants to do our taxes for us.

    If only…

  15. Douglas Fletcher,

    Sounds fair; as long as you let France tax the U.S. We will solve our deficit issue quickly I am sure, and have lots of Euros to spare. 🙂

  16. My husband works for a company that keeps track of mutual fund transactions and has a data center in a cave. They could probably do this job but they’d better start soon or they’ll have to subcontract the whole thing to India where all the programmers are.

  17. Does anyone know how to locate a person if you have their SSAN? I am trying to locate my son whom I haven’t seen since he was 3 years old (Long Ugly Story). I have MOST of the Pertinent information, except his whereabouts.

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