Aadhaar must for informers of benami property, tax evasions to claim rewards from IT dept
Want to blow the lid off a black money racket and earn a reward for that? Get your Aadhaar card ready as the new Informants Reward Scheme 2018 of the Income Tax Department mandates that it must be provided to ensure the informants get all their dues.
The I-T department says it has introduced such a move to remove the hurdle in establishing the identity of an informant at the time of disbursing the final award money which often takes several years.
According to people familiar with the reward scheme, many were given the instant award amount which was Rs 1 lakh under the previous scheme introduced in 2007, but could not get the final award money, which is more substantial.
“In the due course of time, officers-in-charge, who dealt with a particular informant, were transferred and it became difficult for other officers to establish the informer’s identity,” said a senior I-T official familiar with the issue.
He added, “In the previous scheme, an informer was needed to provide only his name and father’s name with the I-T department for becoming an informant,”
Even under the amended scheme, the department doesn’t obtain photograph of an informer to ensure confidentiality. At the same time, the identity of the informant will have to be verified at the time of disbursal of rage reward.
“The final reward may take a few years, till the assessment and appeal processes are over. By then the dealing officers might have changed,” said Surabhi Ahluwalia, spokesperson of Central Board of Direct Taxes.
She stressed that the department needs to be sure that it is paying to actual person who has furnished the information.
“It is for this purpose that the form contains a column on Aadhaar/passport number. In the case of foreign citizens who do not have Aadhaar, they may submit passport number,” Ahluwalia said.
However, she clarified that an informant is expected to furnish the Aadhaar number and other information in the prescribed format to the prescribed authorities only if he/she desires to receive an award.
“Aadhaar is not a mandatory requirement for every person who wants to furnish information to the department,” she added.
HT had earlier reported that the Union finance ministry came out for the first time with a scheme to reward informants of benami transactions and undisclosed foreign income/assets.
The ministry also enhanced the reward from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 50 lakh for providing information regarding undisclosed income/assets in the country.