IRS Imaging: Success in the Making

After a slow start, large-scale imaging programs within the federal government are also beginning to show impressive return on investment. For example, consider the progress of the Internal Revenue Service's often maligned Tax Systems Modernization, or TSM, initiative, perhaps the most high-profile attempt to convert handwritten and typed forms into computer-readable text and numbers to process and archive data automatically.

The first phase of that program, the Service Center Recognition Image Processing System, or SCRIPS, has been installed at five service centers and has already been used to process more than 200 million tax forms.

SCRIPS, which was designed and developed by Northrop Grumman Data Systems, achieved significantly improved performance in 1996 by taking advantage of recent technology breakthroughs. For example, the time by which tax forms are processed was cut in half during the 1995 tax season.

"We managed to increase the capability of SCRIPS through software work flow changes, improved hardware components and image recognition enhancements," explained Herbert W. Anderson, vice president of Northrop Grumman and general manager of the Data Systems and Services Division.

"The bottom line for the taxpaying public is that the system is fulfilling its promise to deliver a government that works better and costs less," he said.

Northrop Grumman is working to bring the efficiencies realized with SCRIPS at the federal level to a series of state and local tax operations, as well. The integrator is currently designing and implementing tax processing solutions for Mississippi, Delaware, New Jersey and Florida.

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