IRS News Release  
April 12, 1990

Contract Awarded to the
National Academy of Sciences

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Commissioner announced a contract award to the National Academy of Sciences for an independent review of the IRS information systems modernization effort.

The main thrust of the two-year study is to analyze IRS goals, evaluate its on-the-job performance, and rate how IRS applies today's technologies and anticipates tomorrow's trends. The two-year association means daily contact and executive briefings along the way to issuing a final report.

In announcing the contract, IRS Commissioner Fred T. Goldberg, Jr. stressed the opportunity the contract presents for the IRS to gain another avenue for outside review of the agency's modernization plans. Goldberg noted that work has already begun on assembling a committee of experts from major universities and the business community to conduct the IRS review.

The National Academy of Sciences has advised other government agencies about scientific and technology matters, and in recent years has conducted a number of modernization studies for among others Air Force, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Defense Logistics Agency and most recently, Social Security Administration.

Created by the federal government to be an advisor on scientific and technology matters, the National Academy of Sciences is not supported by government dollars or subject to government control. In giving the Academy "free rein to look at whatever interests them," Goldberg said IRS is acknowledging its stand-out reputation and experience.

The IRS also announced a three-day Systems Modernization Forum May 30 through June 1 for business people, tax professionals and federal and state tax officials. This meeting, to be held at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, Virginia, will cover a broad range of topics, including electronic funds transfer, electronic data interchange, improvements in IRS notices, and a new system for processing documents.

Today's announcements come toward the end of another tax filing season that Commissioner Goldberg termed very successful. "We are doing our work remarkably well given the fact that our computer systems were designed in the late 1950's", he said. But he cautioned, "Growing demands on an obsolete patchwork of systems limit us in giving taxpayers the service they deserve."

IRS currently processes about 200 million returns a year with the number expected to jump to 240 million by the year 2000; receives one billion information and withholding documents; and collects about $1 trillion in taxes.

"Modernizing the tax system costs big dollars and raises people's expectations." Goldberg said. "We need to make sure we're delivering on the promise -- not just now but in the crucial months and years ahead. The combination of a two-year, no-holds-barred review by the National Academy of Sciences and three days of brainstorming by business, financial and tax experts constitutes an excellent beginning."

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