At a Senate Finance Committee Hearing today, IRS commissioner John Koskinen testified on IRS funding requests for the upcoming fiscal year. Koskinen admitted that the IRS is stuck in the past when it comes to technology:
“Despite more than a decade of upgrades to the agency’s core business systems, we still have very old technology running alongside our more modern systems.”
Some of this software is so old that it is the same technology that was used in 1963, a full 52 years ago:
“In regard to software, we still have applications that were running when John F. Kennedy was President.”
In fact, Commissioner Koskinen stated that the IRS still uses a programming language — COBOL — that was considered obsolete 15 years ago. As his testimony stated, it is now difficult to find anyone with expertise in this programming:
“And we continue to use COBOL programming language. COBOL was considered outdated back when I served as Chairman of the President’s Council on Year 2000 Conversion and it is extremely difficult to find IT experts who are versed in this language.”
Taxpayers should be outraged that the IRS is still using technology that is more than 50 years old. But, the IRS is also taking unnecessary risk by not updating their technology. As Commissioner Koskinen testified:
“It is important to point out that the IRS is the world’s largest financial accounting institution, and that is a tremendously risky operation to run with outdated equipment and applications."
As ATR has previously pointed out, the IRS also refuses to produce legally required tax complexity reports and does not give taxpayers the option to leave phone messages when they call for assistance – even if they are elderly or have a disability.