The Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) plans on using its Pilot IRS program to release a multiple solution challenge to help digitize paper files. The agency will award multiple $7.5 million contracts based on which contractors offer the best solutions, according to a draft request for information (RFI) posted to SAM.gov.

The contract will help IRS comply with Memorandum-19-21 and the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) rule for agencies to go paperless by December 2022. The goal of the challenge is to find “innovative solutions” for both “scanning paper and transmitting digital files” and “extracting machine-readable data.”

“This solicitation is for innovative solutions to digitalize paper documents and transmit the digital files back to the IRS via a digital channel,” the draft RFI says. “IRS will consider any reasonable approach or solution. No approach is preferred over another.”

There are four goals for the RFI:

  1. “Receive, prepare, reproduce, sort, validate, store, return and transfer 300 and 400 dots per inch Portable Document Format (or comparable formats to be determined at a later date by the IRS, e.g., Extensible Markup Language (XML), etc.) digital copies of various sized paper records, pictures, and forms, potentially in very large volumes, with impeccable accuracy, high level of speed, and low levels of manual activity;
  2. Meet all IRS Minimum Technical Digitization Specifications, Minimum Metadata Elements for IRS Records, and Minimum Quality Assurance, Control, and Review Standards. These standards can be found in the Attachment to RFP 2032H8-21-R-124899;
  3. Interface and be compliant with IRS systems, cybersecurity requirements, hardware, and software, etc. Interfaces and schemas included in potential solutions would need to be approved for use by the IRS Chief Information Officer; and
  4. Validate and report on the accuracy of scanned digital copies against the original records (paper etc.). Transfer the digital copies to downstream processes such as data extraction that may be hosted within IRS systems and/or third-party extraction solutions through industry-standard interface mechanisms.”

The project will have two phases, and the potential initial use case includes digitizing, or scanning and transmitting, over one billion pages. The first phase will include testing and initial pilot deployment and have an award of $200,000 for 180 days of work. IRS expects to award three-to-five phase one awards in Fiscal Year 2021. Phase two will consist of the deployment of the solutions that worked in the first phase and carry an award of $7.3 million over four and a half years.

The IRS plans to officially release the RFI on July 12 and hold a listening session on Zoom on July 13. The initial response date is July 28.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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