New Delhi: In a bid to curb miscreants and unearth black money, the Ministry of Finance had launched a scheme earlier this year in collaboration with the Income Tax Department. Under the government scheme, individuals can act as informants to the I-T department and report any instances of income tax evasion that they are aware of. The Income Tax Informant Act 2018 or the ITI Act, 2018, was launched by the government in April 23 to engage the public in their mission to curb black money hoarding.
While the amount of reward depends on the extent of the tax evasion reported, the government expects the scheme to help reduce tax evasion as well. Worth mentioning that sharing specific information with the tax department about any benami property can fetch an individual up to one crore while any information on black money stashed abroad could help an individual earn up to Rs 5 crore.
Both Indian and foreign nationals are eligible for providing information under the scheme and will be awarded an amount for providing key information on black money and tax evasion. The same was conveyed by the Ministry of Finance on in a press release last month. However, government officials are barred from participating in the scheme.
To earn a reward, an individual has to provide specific information in a pre-determined manner to the Director General of Income Tax investigation or an equivalent officer rank in the department. The government has also clearly mentioned that under the scheme, the informant’s identity will be kept confidential.
If an individual has specific information, he/she has to furnish the specific documents authenticating their claims regarding cases of tax evasion. It should be noted that after the completion of the submission, the individual will be allotted an informant code. However, only written information in a pre-determined form will be accepted; anything other than that will not be accepted by the authorities.
However, those plotting a scheme to provide false information should know that this will be treated as an offence and may be prosecuted for providing false information, as per guidelines provided by the CBDT. Individuals should also note that the reward will be given to them in two parts – interim and final. While the interim reward can be from Rs 5 to Rs 15 lakh, the final reward ranges between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 5 crore, according to the department.
After providing the information, informants can expect to receive the interim award within four months after an initial assessment, following which a final reward can be expected in six months, provided all the specific conditions are fulfilled.