They have software from 1962 running on hardware from the 1980's, is what he means. He has COBOL running on machinery so old the whole thing could be replaced with a PHONE. I seem to recall seeing a couple years ago that the IRS had -finally- phased out punch card machines. Awesome.
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 being 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 COBOL was considered outdated back when I served as Chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion and it is extremely difficult to find IT experts who are versed in this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."
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
IRS still runs on COBOL. For real.
The extent of this failure is truly epic. Except it isn't much on the scale that the Barack Obama administration is failing on. Compared to the Immigration department the IRS is a model of efficiency. I mean, they actually do process tax returns, eventually. The INS doesn't process anything, they just ignore you until you go away. Unless you're an illegal Mexican, then they hand you a Green Card and say "Mi casa et su casa, amigo!"
Canadians should not feel smug however, the Canadian government remains the largest purchaser of DEC TK50/TK70 tape drives in North America. They standardized on the DEC VAX system back in the 1980's and are still running them. Just for comparison, the storage and processing of an entire room full of VAX 11/780s could be handled by an iPad.
Well that was the 1990's. Its 2015 now. Its been FIFTEEN YEARS since they touched any of this crap, all of which should have been jettisoned in the 1980s and done over properly.
Chief of the IRS admits his department of the government is hopelessly, hilariously broken.Anybody still remember the Millennium Bug? January 1st 2000 at 12:01 AM all these ancient systems were going to hit the end of their 8 bit date address spaces and crash hard. The IRS spent a cubic buttload of money updating all those 1960's technology systems, instead of replacing them as any actual business would. Because they're the government. They don't care how much it costs.