Following the implementation of Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Rules, 2019, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has clarified that a benami property means any property which is the subject matter of a benami transaction and also includes proceeds from such property.“Benami transaction encompasses where a property is transferred to, or is held by, a person and the consideration for such property has been provided, or paid by, another person (the trustees and wife, children, brother or sister to whom property has been transferred from known resources will be excluded),” a statement issued by the FBR read. “A transaction or arrangement in respect of a property carried out or made in a fictitious name; or a transaction or arrangement in respect of a property where the owner of the property is not aware of, or denies knowledge of, such ownership; or a transaction or arrangement in respect of a property where the person providing the consideration is not traceable or is fictitious,” it added. “The potential types of benami properties include plots, houses, shopping plazas, shops, housing schemes, bank accounts, vehicles, business shares, jewellery, foreign currency, legal documents and intangible properties having financial value,” the statement read. “Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Rules, 2019, have been enforced with immediate effect and BTB zones of Inland Revenue Service have been assigned the duty to establish cases against benami properties and submit challan to the adjudication authority within 120 working days,” it added.“During this period, sale, purchase and transfer of property will be banned till further orders. Appeal against the decision of adjudication authority can be lodged with the federal tribunal and after the decision of the federal tribunal, such properties will be confiscated and sold out by the federal government,” the FBR clarified. “Furthermore, if the crime of benami transactions is proved, criminal proceedings will be initiated against accused persons and where proven guilty, rigorous imprisonment of one year to seven years can be awarded to such persons,” it added. “Similarly, persons providing false and baseless information can also be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of six months to five years. In this regard, the whistle blowers will be entitled to a cash reward for providing credible information leading to detection of benami property or transaction,” the statement read. “If the property is worth Rs 2,000,000 or less, five percent of price of benami property will be given to the informer. If property’s worth is more than Rs 2,000,000 or 5,000,000, four percent of benami property will be given to informer and where the value of property will be more than Rs 5,000,000, three percent of benami property will be given to informer,” it continued. “It is clarified that this reward will be given only if the information provided is of value and FBR doesn’t already have it and the information is not available in public records and appeal against confiscation of property has attained finality,” it concluded.Published in Daily Times, March 20th 2019.