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IRS caught out by Windows XP support expiry, $30M needed to migrate

updated 05:51 pm EDT, Sun April 13, 2014

Migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 delayed by IRS over budget troubles

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has paid Microsoft for an extra year of support for Windows XP, it has been revealed. The agency's failure to migrate approximately 58,000 out of 110,000 Windows computers from Windows XP to Windows 7, and though the actual figure being paid is unknown, it is likely to cost the IRS millions of dollars.

An IRS budget hearing before the House Financial Services and General subcommittee this week queried about the agency's stalled transition from Windows XP, reports NetworkWorld. Committee chairman Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla) noted that the agency has "been struggling to come up with $30 million to finish migrating to Windows 7 even though Microsoft announced in 2008 that it would stop supporting Windows XP past 2014.

Internal Revenue Service Building, Washington D.C.
Internal Revenue Service Building, Washington D.C.

IRS commissioner John Koskinen attempted to defend the migration issues, claiming a total of $300 million in IT programs, including the XP migration, were on hold over budget issues. While admitting Crenshaw's point as correct, Koskinen advised the migration was a priority, stating "Windows XP will no longer be serviced, so we are very concerned if we don't complete that work we're going to have an unstable environment in terms of security."

In order to complete the migration, the IRS will be extracting $30 million from budgets relating to enforcement, with part of the funds going to Microsoft for support. While the Custom Support prices were previously capped at $200,000 per customer in the first year, Microsoft recently changed the rules and negotiates individual contracts. Based on an average cost of $200 per computer per year, this would in theory cost the IRS somewhere in the region of $11.6 million to support the XP-based devices, leaving $18.4 million to complete the migration itself.

In a statement, the IRS claims "None of our filing season systems or other major business operating systems for taxpayers use Windows XP. The IRS emphasizes the situation involving Windows will have no impact on taxpayers, including people filing their tax returns in advance of the April 15th deadline. The agency hopes to complete the migration program before the end of 2014.

The IRS is not the only government agency caught out by the end of Windows XP support. The UK government struck a deal for an extra 12 months of support, costing £5.5 million ($9.2 million).

by MacNN Staff



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