Did you know that you can earn Rs 5 crore worth of money in reward under a government scheme? To win the prize money under this scheme, you have to act as an informant for the government to report an instance of income tax evasion. This scheme, called ITI or Income Tax Informant Reward Scheme 2018, is aimed at obtaining people's participation in the taxman's efforts to unearth black money and reduce tax evasion. The informant is required to provide specific information about substantial evasion - worth Rs 5 crore and above - of tax on income or assets within the country and abroad that are actionable under the Income-tax Act, 1961, according to a statement by the Ministry of Finance.
Here are 10 things to know about the Income Tax Informant (ITI) Reward 2018 Scheme:
1. Launch: The scheme came into effect on April 23 this year. The Income Tax Department made some revisions in the reward scheme in June.
2. Who can participate? Indian nationals as well as foreigners are eligible for reward under this scheme, the Ministry of Finance said in its press release dated June 1. Government officials are not eligible to participate in this scheme.
3. "Information under this scheme has to be given in prescribed manner to the Director General of Income Tax (Investigation) or an officer whom he may authorize in this behalf," it noted.
4. Informant's identity: Under the Income Tax Informant Reward 2018 scheme, it has been mandated by the taxman that the identity of the informant be kept confidential. "Identity of the persons giving information will not be disclosed and strict confidentiality shall be maintained," the ministry said.
5. How to win the reward of Rs 5 crore: In order to win a reward under the Income Tax Informant scheme, the participant is required to furnish specific information of tax evasion in a written statement in a prescribed form. Based on this submission, an Informant Code will be allotted to him or her by the prescribed authority. The authorities will not accept information in any other manner, for example, through email, CD, WhatsApp, SMS, phone, social networking site or any other media.
6. Who to contact? A participant may contact the Director General of lncome Tax (Investigation),
Joint Director of Income Tax (Investigation) or Principal Director of Income Tax (Investigation) concerned, for giving information. "If the jurisdictional JDlT (Inv) considers the information prima facie actionable, the person shall have to submit the information in prescribed format in Annexure - A by appearing in person before the JDlT (Inv), when called. In case of any difficulty, the person desirous of giving specific information may contact the PDIT (Inv) of the area. The decision of PDIT (Inv) will be final in the matter of allotment of Informant Code under this Scheme," the taxman explained.
7. False information: Furnishing false information or evidence is an offence and "a person giving false information/evidence/statement will be liable" to be prosecuted for such offence, according to the guidelines of the scheme set by the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the apex policymaking body of the Income Tax Department.
8. Grant of reward: The reward is awarded in two states: interim and final. Both interim and final rewards are paid in two categories: income tax laws and black money laws. The interim reward is in the range of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 15 lakh, while the reward is in the range of Rs 50 lakh and Rs 5 crore.
9. Timeline: The interim reward will be issued within four months of completion of relavant assessment (under black money law) or forwarding of final investigation to the Assessment Officer (under income tax law). As for the final reward, it will be issued in six months, according to the taxman. "All reward granting authorities shall endeavour to pay final reward to an informant eligible for such reward, within six months of fulfilment of the conditions mentioned in this scheme," it noted.
10. "Reward in accordance with this scheme shall be ex-gratia payment, which subject to this scheme, may be granted in the absolute discretion of the authority competent to grant reward," the taxman added.