The Income Tax Department has issued a new reward scheme titled “Benami Transactions Informants Reward Scheme, 2018” to seek people’s participation in the Income Tax Department’s efforts to unearth black money and to reduce tax evasion.
Objective: The scheme is aimed at encouraging people to give information about benami transactions and properties as well as income earned on such properties by such hidden investors and beneficial owners.
• Under the new rewards scheme, a reward up to Rs 1 crore would be given to those who can give 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.
- Substantial evasion of tax on income or assets in India which are actionable under the Income-tax Act, 1961
• People of foreign origin would also be eligible for such a reward if they can provide the required specific information.
• The identity of the people giving information will be kept strictly confidential.
• Besides, the Government has also introduced a reward of up to Rs 5 crore to those people who can give specific information regarding income and assets actionable under Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015
• The amount has been kept high to make it attractive to potential sources in foreign countries.
The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 was introduced by the Union Government to investigate and assess income and specific assets kept in foreign countries by people taxable in India, recover tax on it and take other actions like penalty and prosecution.
The new reward scheme supersedes the earlier reward scheme, which was issued in 2007.
It was found in many cases that black money was invested in properties in the names of others, even though benefits were enjoyed by the investor concealing his beneficial ownership in his tax returns.
The Government had earlier amended Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988, by Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 to make the law stronger.