With its newly announced "Income Tax Informants Reward Scheme, 2018" that supersedes all previous schemes by the tax department, tax informants or individuals who help the Centre unearth black money stashed abroad or report any benami transaction or property, will be eligible to earn reward worth up to Rs. 5 crore.
A property purchased by an individual not under his or her name is referred as a benami property and such a property can be held in the name of the child or spouse. The payment for this property is made from known sources of income. And the transaction involved is referred as a benami transaction.
Also, any such disclosure which provides for evasion of taxes on assets or income in India that are subject to action as per the Income Tax Act, 1961 shall also be rewarded with up to Rs. 50 lakh.
As per the scheme, any person including foreigners can report about benami transactions as well as properties that are subject to action under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 to Additional or Joint Commissioners.
The CBDT said, "Under the Benami Transactions Informants Reward Scheme, 2018, a person can get reward up to Rs one crore for giving specific information in prescribed manner to the Joint or Additional Commissioners of Benami Prohibition Units (BPUs) in Investigation Directorates of Income Tax Department about benami transactions and properties as well as proceeds from such properties which are actionable under Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988, as amended by Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016".
Following are the details of the scheme:
1. A person under the scheme will be eligible for a reward for providing specific information of substantial tax evasion on assets and income kept abroad which can be taken to action under Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.
2. In its revised form, the revelation of any specific information to the income tax department concerning benami transaction or property, will help the tax informant earn up to Rs. 1 crore while in case of reporting of undisclosed black money stashed overseas may help the information provider earn as much as Rs. 5 crore.
3. As per the rules of the scheme, the prescribed format has to be followed for furnishing information to the Director General of Income Tax (Investigation) or an officer who may be assigned on his behalf.
4. Also, strict confidentiality will be maintained in relation to the person providing such crucial piece of information to the tax department. The department has pegged the reward amount towards the higher side to make it a lucrative offer for potential sources in countries outside India.