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CBR concerned over lack of data backup system in case of virus attack

ISLAMABAD (August 24 2003) : The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has expressed serious concern over the absence of backup system in case of any virus attack on Sales Tax computer system and 'Starr' refund automation program containing data pertaining to all persons/exporters registered with Sales Tax Department.

Sources said here on Saturday that in case of any new computer virus attack on these systems, the consequences would be extremely serious.

Both Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (Pral) and Sales Tax Department have admitted that the computers on which tax profiles were being maintained are outdated and require immediate replacement.

Furthermore, the absence of backup system could result in total disaster, as once the data is erased, the CBR would have no mechanism to immediately compile data of thousands of taxpayers from all over the country.

Similarly, Starr Refund Automation Program was instrumental in speedy sales tax refund payment to the exporters.

Sales Tax Department has informed Pral that the computerised data contains important information on short-filers, non-filers, nil-filers, and tax evaders and tax profiles of thousands of industrial units, but it needs immediate up-gradation.

The attack of any virus on the system could be either due to use of infected floppies, e-mail or online access to Internet.

On the other hand, Pral has also apprehended that negligence on the part of Sales Tax Department could result in a mishap in future.

The CBR has not yet taken any measure to deal with the attack of viruses on computer system, particularly Starr Automation program. This clearly reflects lack of co-ordination between the Sales Tax Department and Pral, which resulted in non-utilisation of the allocated money on the up-gradation of the system, sources added.

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