Federal Manager's Daily Report

Nearly two-thirds of the IT hardware at the IRS is beyond its useful life and despite spending virtually all of the funds available to upgrade, the agency is losing ground, an IG report has said.

The IRS operates a “sustaining infrastructure program” using funds from a variety of sources including appropriations, user fees and surplus from other areas. It annually spends more than 99 percent of the available money on average toward a goal of reducing out of date hardware to between 20 and 25 percent. But since 2013 the percentage has risen from 40 to 64 percent and the estimated replacement cost for aged hardware is now up to $430 million, the report said.

Some of that hardware is three to four times older than the recommended replacement age under industry standards and the agency itself has warned that inadequate budgets could require it to defer upgrades, it added.

“Aged information technology hardware still in use introduces unnecessary risks,” it said, citing 107 incident tickets it reviewed that most likely involved aged hardware failures took more than 4,500 hours to resolve. “These aged hardware failures may have also had a negative effect on IRS employee productivity, security of taxpayer information, and customer service,” said the report.