The government on Friday launched three new reward schemes under which a person can get up to Rs 5 crore for information on tax evasion and ‘benami’ (proxy) transactions and properties.
While a person can get maximum Rs 5 crore for giving specific information about substantial tax evasion on income and assets outside India, the maximum reward for information on tax evasion in India is Rs 50 lakh, the Finance Ministry said.
However, for information on benami transactions and properties, one can get a reward of up to Rs one crore.
The government earlier introduced Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 in order to “investigate 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”.
“With the objective of attracting and encouraging people to give information about such income and assets… reward up to Rs five crore has been introduced in the new reward scheme,” an official statement said.
“The amount has been kept high to make it attractive to potential sources in foreign countries.”
The Income Tax Department also revised the “Income Tax Informants Reward Scheme” superseding the earlier reward scheme issued in 2007.
Under the revised scheme, a person can get reward up to Rs 50 lakh for giving specific information about substantial tax evasion within India.
The “Benami Transactions Informants Reward Scheme”, on the other hand, is aimed at encouraging people to give information about benami transactions and properties as well as income earned on such properties by hidden investors and beneficial owners, the Finance Ministry said.
“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,” it added.
Under this, a person can get a reward of up to Rs one crore for giving specific information to tax officials about benami transactions and properties.
The schemes will help the Income Tax Department in its efforts to unearth black money and reduce tax evasion, an official statement said.
“Foreigners will also be eligible for such reward. Identity of the persons giving information will not be disclosed and strict confidentiality shall be maintained,” the Finance Ministry said.