A consortum led by Computer Sciences has won the lucrative prime contract to modernise the antiquated computer system at the US Internal Revenue Service.
The contract is believed to be worth around $5 billion. A further $3 billion worth of contracts are expected to be announced by the federal tax agency on or after 2000.
The IRS has already spent billions of dollars on failed upgrade attempts on its old computer system over the past decade.
Some of the IRS?s existing computer technology dates back to President John Kennedy's administration, where taxpayer records are still kept on tape files than can only be updated weekly. This archaic system it makes it difficult for the tax officers to currently answer customers queries quickly.
This will be one of the first ports of call to be technologically updated over the next two years, the IRS said.
Other priority areas include expanding electronic tax filing and creating a new internal system that will enable tax officers to retrieve individuals tax records quickly. Eventually the entire aged computer system will be replaced.
Computer Sciences, which had total sales of $6.6 billion in fiscal 1998, already receives around a quarter of its business from the US government.
Members of the Computer Sciences led group include IBM, Northrup Grumman, KPMG Peat Marwick, Unisys, Lucent Technologies and Science Applications International.
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