Emerging technologies and solutions aim to define the IRS of the future

The IRS ensures that technology modernization efforts are felt by the consumer in their day-to-day interactions with the agency, and the agency relies on industry partnerships to help take systems and solutions to the next level. .

“It’s about constant modernization,” Craig Drake, assistant chief information officer for application development, said at the Government Technology & Services Coalition’s 2022 IRS Days, highlighting how technology transformation Fundamental IRS significantly improves taxpayer services.

This includes the Child Tax Credit Portal which debuted in June, the agency’s role in helping deliver three Economic Impact Payments starting in March 2020, and the multilingual initiatives which helped create certain forms, publications, tools, social media, and information on the IRS website. more accessible – and increased the agency’s interest in machine translation products.

While the IRS has not yet “been able to retire Legacy Authentication,” Drake said he is “planning to retire Legacy Authentication in late July 2022.”

“The servers we run software on are state-of-the-art platforms – we don’t run on 30-year-old systems,” said Steve Lambourne, director of submission processing. Database languages ​​are kept up to date and these environments are maintained using modernized tools.

But although the IRS is still using legacy technology, the agency is “not moving forward with them,” he pointed out. With very strong and very high resiliency infrastructure goals, the agency “keeps itself up to date and ready for modernization, partnering with different vendors and visions.”

“We talk a lot with vendors about where apps go and where they go,” Lambourne said.

The IRS recently celebrated the 100 millionth transaction in online accounts. In one year, the number of people who came to consult online accounts doubled from 9 million to 18 million. Additionally, 99% of people who unregister for child tax credits did so online instead of calling the IRS.

“We have a very strong relationship with our vendor community,” said Eric Markow, Director of the Web Application Program Management Office. “Our goal and vision is to be able to provide secure digital services to all taxpayers. We are very concerned about ensuring that taxpayer data remains secure. »

“We also have a vision that taxpayers can go to one place on IRS.gov to find all the services they need,” he said. IRS.gov online accounts just celebrated five years of existence; Currently, taxpayers can view their account balance, make payments, set up payment plans with more streamlined eligibility information, view tax records, and view digital notices. Last year, a new tax professionals account was added.

“More and more people are turning to online services to do business with the IRS,” Markow said. “This is a very big area of ​​growth in the IRS.” He specifically noted a trend of more and more people wanting to do business from their mobile devices.

Soon the first multilingual online account will debut in Spanish, with more languages ​​available in the future. Moving applications to the cloud will also allow faster deployment of new features for taxpayers. And the IRS is also considering ways to provide new digital communication tools for secure online messaging – a virtual assistant, accessible with an online account, will allow taxpayers to get answers without contacting a live agent, but can escalate the request to a live assistant if the robot cannot respond.

Markow said the web applications team would also like to pursue the creation of an online account for businesses.

“We have so much to do as we look to the future,” he said. “We are very, very excited to continue to develop and expand what we offer our ratepayers. »

Director of Enterprise Case Management Julie Robbins said there are 640 unique separate business processes that use some sort of case management, and over the years as systems have been put in place , a central challenge has been silos with limited integration. It is possible that a taxpayer can call and the customer service representative cannot see all parts of the taxpayer’s account.

Robbins looks forward to a common case management solution to simplify and provide more consistency between solutions. “The taxpayer perspective is going to be key and improve customer service exponentially,” she said.

Opening up digital channels in a transition from paper-based processes “will integrate with the other big things happening in the service,” Robbins added, noting the need to modernize legacy data solutions behind the scenes.

In July 2020, Pega was selected to power the new IRS Business Case Management System. The IRS is in the process of setting up a business case repository using MarkLogic.

“We’ve accomplished quite a bit from a modernization perspective in a relatively short time,” Robbins said.

She said it was important that the case management system avoid having a central platform or multiply the number of applications used as the IRS seeks to simplify. A key motivation is to drive towards “removing systems – we need to start unplugging some of these things on the back-end”.

A common case management solution is to create “a consolidated approach,” Robbins stressed, not “a refresh and renew.”

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