Who doesn’t want to be a crorepati? It may be your dream also and, thankfully, you too can become one – that too easily! All you need to do is to help the Income Tax Department get hold of tax evaders and black money holders. The reward will make you rich in no time. The Central Board of Direct Tax (CBDT) has recently revamped its reward scheme and enhanced the prize money to up to Rs 5 crore. In order to get this massive reward, an informant has to give specific information about a person who is a tax evader or black money holder. However, you need to remember that any false information may lead you into trouble.
Income-Tax Informants Reward Scheme 2018:
The ITI Reward Scheme 2018 was announced by the government on April 24, 2018. Under the scheme, an informant is rewarded for providing information on undisclosed income or assets and data related to tax evasion under Black Money Act, 2015 and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.
Also, the ‘Benami Transactions Informants Reward Scheme 2018’ regulates the granting and the payment of a reward to the informer on benami properties.
A person, under the ITI reward scheme 2018, gets a reward up to Rs 5 crore for providing specific information about black money, while BTI reward scheme 2018 gives up to Rs 1 crore for the information. However, it does not mean that if the person gives information under both schemes, they will get a reward of Rs 6 crore. The reward prize cannot exceed Rs 5 crore.
Who can inform the government and how?
An informant can be a group of persons or an individual who can give accurate information to the department about tax evasion of Rs 5 crore or more, or about one or more movable or immovable benami assets worth Rs 1 crore or more. The informant needs to provide valid documents to support the allegations.
The person who has any information regarding the tax evasion or black money needs to contact the Director General of Income Tax (Intelligence). Meanwhile, for those who have information under the BTI reward scheme can approach the joint commissioner of income tax.
The informant needs to fill a form under both the schemes and submit it to the Income Tax Department along with the documents. In the form, the informer has to provide details like father’s name, address, Aadhaar, contact number along with data such as the amount of black money, parties involved, address of the assets, etc.
Karan Batra, Founder and CEO of CharteredClub.com, when asked how the scheme benefits people, said: “Incentive schemes are always beneficial as the person who is making the effort is being rewarded for the same. A lot of people have a lot of information about who, how, when & where the tax fraud is taking place and by incentivising the common man to report such information – the government can certainly increase their revenue by leaps and bounds.”
Commenting on if the initiative by the government is good, he said: “The scheme on paper looks excellent. However, what remains to be seen is how it is practically implemented. There is currently lack of awareness about this scheme. Even the people who know about the scheme are scared that what will happen if their identity gets revealed. Therefore, the government should take proper steps to spread awareness about the same and also ensure that the secrecy and anonymity of the whistleblower is not revealed.”
What is the reward process?
CBDT has set different reward slabs based on the information provided and the value of the assets. The reward will be paid in two stages – interim and final.
Types of information:
1- Undisclosed foreign income or assets liable under Black Money Act, 2015: Informant will get maximum of up to Rs 50 lakh as an interim reward. The final reward will be up to Rs 5 crore. However, the final reward will be 10 per cent of additional tax levied and realized.
2- Undisclosed income or assets liable under Income Tax Act, 2015: Interim reward would be of up to Rs 5 lakh while up to Rs 50 lakh as the final prize. In the final reward, 5 per cent of addition tax will be levied and realized.
3- Unaccounted or undisclosed cash exceeding Rs 1 crore, under Section 132 of Income Tax Act 1961: The maximum interim amount is up to Rs 15 lakh while the maximum final reward is up to Rs 1 crore with 5 per cent of additional tax levied and realized.
The interim reward will be paid within four months of relevant assessment of the information, while the final reward will be paid within six months of confiscation of the benami property.