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Fasteignamat.(PDF 29K)  Helgi Sigvaldason.
Fyrstu IBM-vélar Hagstofunnar (PDF 514K). Áki Pétursson. Ritstjóri Óttar Kjartansson
Nokkrir þættir í sögu vélrænnar álagningar opinberra gjalda og innheimtu. (PDF 149K) Jón Zophoníasson
Skýrr. Saga 1952 - 1975.(PDF 589K)  Óttar Kjartansson. (ágrip á ensku)
Yfirlitsglærur úr kennslu við Háskóla Íslands.(PDF 388K) Oddur Benediktsson.

Samantekt á ensku vegna ráðstefnu um sögu tölvunnar á Norðurlöndum 2003:

Computers and the Tax Authorities

The first task performed by Skýrr for the tax authorities in Reykjavík was printing names and addresses on tax declaration forms in 1954, using the punch card based National Register of Persons as a basis. Later that year taxes were calculated and related documentation prepared for the tax collectors. Within few years, all other tax districts had been computerised in this manner. After its establishment in 1962, the Directorate of Taxes assumed responsibility for the development of computerised tax systems.

When the first electronic computers arrived in 1964, the processing methods of the Unit Record era were transferred to the computer with minimal change; the punched card was called Unit Record. This immediately increased speed, but did little for the part of the process that required deskwork. On the other hand, one of the first really labour-saving features in the tax processing system came in 1978 when it became possible to automatically compare employees’ tax declarations with employers’ statements of paid salaries. As the data entry devices of those days, i.e. card punches and later diskette recorders, were quite expensive, it was not considered economical to install such devices in the small tax offices in the countryside. The result was that most of the data entry was performed in Reykjavík. In 1982, the tax offices around the county were equipped with inexpensive personal computers  (Tandy TRS80 with simple file transfer programs) programmed for data entry and so the workload was distributed out to the local offices.

jg 2003
Jóhann Gunnarsson

The expenditure accounting system

The Treasury started using computers in 1978. That year a simple batch based expenditure accounting system programmed in RPG and run on the Skýrr computer was put to use. Output was in the form of printed lists with no possibility for on-screen viewing of data. This was primarily historic accounting with very limited management information. In 1983 it was decided to take up on-line processing. For that purpose a complex system for financial accounting, Management Science of America (MSA), was purchased. It turned out that the accounting key of MSA and it’s arrangement and in fact various other features did not fit Icelandic requirements, and the system proved cumbersome if not impossible to adapt.

In 1985 the use of the MSA system was discontinued. Instead it was decided to develop a new system from scratch. This new system, called BÁR (Bókhalds- og Áætlanakerfi Ríkisins), was taken into service in 1986 and was considered a success by its users right from the beginning. In the design, heavy emphasis was put on error checking and reconciliation of transactions. There were provisions for on-screen management information, both ad hoc summary screens from almost every conceivable view, and comparison against budget, which is crucial in the Administration as the State budget dictates what can be spent. This system had built-in teleprocessing possibilities. The BÁR accounting system has undergone considerable changes and has had new features added through the years. It is to be replaced with a new and modern financial system, the Oracle e-business suite, during 2003.

jg 2003
Jóhann Gunnarsson

The Revenue Accounting System

On-line data processing had a slow and cautious start in the central administration. A revenue accounting system was designed at Skýrr and became operative in 1979. This was the first on-line system used in the administration. This event also marked the beginning of usage of SNA (Systems Network Architecture, the communications protocol developed by IBM in the early seventies) in Iceland. Initially, remote terminals were installed at the Reykjavik Tax Collector’s Office (Gjaldheimtan í Reykjavík). At this time, the tax collector's offices in Reykjavík and 5 other townships were owned and operated by the municipalities, collecting for both local and central authorities. Elsewhere, these operations were separate. In 1981 four additional tax districts, Akureyri, Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður and Keflavík were connected to the on-line system. The remaining tax districts were brought on-line during the subsequent years.

jg 2003
Jóhann Gunnarsson


Skýrr was established 1952 in a cooperative effort between the Icelandic State and the City of Reykjavík. The main purpose was to share the costs of operating a data centre with IBM Unit Record equipment for administrative data processing applications. Unit Record equipment was employed for the first twelve years. Skýrr obtained an IBM 1401 computer in 1964. It had 4K core memory (see appendix) and punched cards were used as data media. This system was a direct extension of the Unit Record equipment but with the advent in 1968 of an IBM 360/30 with tape and disk stations Skýrr started to convert from the punched cards to the magnetic tapes and disks as storage and processing media.

The number of applications housed at Skýrr grew rapidly in the first years. Some of the  applications were based directly on the National Register of Persons such as the voting registers, taxation applications as well as invoicing for the various utilities i.e. electricity, telephone, thermal water, and state radio. A vehicle registration register was established  as well as a  real estate register together with real estate assessments, salary systems etc. To meet the processing needs the computer configuration at Skýrr was updated progressively. See figure 1 as an example of a proposed computer configuration at Skýrr in 1974.

By 1985 Skýrr was using two IBM 4382-2 mainframes. The number of employees at Skýrr was 5 in 1955. It had reached 18 in 1965, 64 in 1975, and 122 in 1985. These figures exemplify the escalating increase in computer usage in the early years.

The software development tools used at Skýrr followed the generations of computers employed. During the IBM 1401 usage (1964-68) programs were written in the 1401 Symbolic Programming System (SPS). With the advent of the IBM 360/30 system the programming languages Assembler, RPG and PL/I came into use and greatly facilitated the software development. In 1982 the Adabas data base system was taken into use together with the fourth generation language Natural.

ok 2003
Óttar Kjartansson