Keep Away From Benami Transactions, Warns Income Tax Department

Keep Away From Benami Transactions, Warns Income Tax Department

The taxman is the nodal department to enforce the Benami Act in the country

New Delhi: The Income Tax Department on Wednesday warned people to “keep away” from benami transactions, cautioning that violations under the newly enacted law invites criminal prosecution and rigorous imprisonment up to seven years. The department put out its alert in a public advertisement published in leading national dailies.

Titled “Keep Away from Benami Transactions”, it described black money as a “crime against humanity” and urged “conscientious citizens to help the government in eradicating it”.

“Benamidar (in whose name benami proper is standing), beneficiary (who actually paid consideration) and persons who abet and induce benami transactions are prosecutable and may face rigorous imprisonment up to 7 years besides being liable to pay fine up to 25 per cent of fair market value of benami property,” the I-T advertisement said.

The tax department attached benami assets worth Rs. 1,833 crore across the country, issued 517 notices and made 541 attachments, from November 1, 2016 to October 2017.

The department started initiating action under the new Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 from November 1, 2016.

The advertisement added that “persons who furnish false information to authorities under Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 2016, are prosecutable and may be imprisoned up to 5 years besides being liable to pay fine up to 10 per cent of fair market value of benami property”.

It added that benami property “may be attached and confiscated by the government” and that this action will be in in addition to prosecution under the Income Tax Act of 1961 for tax evasion charges.

The Income Tax Department is the nodal department to enforce the Benami Act in the country.


As the Job Market Heats Up, Consider These Bonuses to Keep Employees Happy

Types of Bonuses to Consider

A bonus is additional compensation paid to an employee. As the job market heats up, the competition among employers to attract and retain good workers is growing. Bonuses may be a way for your company to gain a competitive edge in the job market. This is especially true for small businesses that may not offer the same menu of fringe benefits that large corporations do.

Common Types of Bonuses

Signing Bonuses

When you hear the term “signing bonus” you may think about a sports team. Increasingly, businesses are using the concept to attract the best and brightest. According to the Society for Humans Resource Management, only 31.6 percent of employers offered them in 2002. World at Work in 2011 found that it was up to 54 percent. Typically, signing bonuses aren’t paid in a lump sum but over the course of a year or more to ensure that the person hired works out.

Retention Bonuses

These are much less common than signing bonuses. They’re made to keep a key employee with the company during a critical project or at other desperate times. I’m presenting this because they exist. However, there’s been a lot of criticism about retention bonuses; decide for yourself.

Incentive/Performance Bonuses

As the name implies, these are paid as an incentive to employees to achieve a benchmark in performance. These are common for those in sales, but can be used for any type of employee who completes a project on time and within budget.

Year-end Bonuses

Year-end bonuses are the most common type of bonuses in the workplace. What’s going to be paid this year? It’s too early to tell, but expect that the range will vary by industry in general and by employer in particular. In past years, year-end bonuses may be small tokens of appreciation paid at holiday time (do you recall the Jelly-of-the Month in the movie “Christmas Vacation”?) or meaningful cash payments (e.g., equal to a month’s salary).

Some companies delay the year-end bonus until they’ve had an opportunity to close the books and see what they can afford. In a sense, these companies are paying a profit-sharing amount to employees who helped with their success.

Other Types of Bonuses

While the ones discussed earlier are the most common, companies can use bonuses for any good business purpose. Some examples:

  • Suggestion bonuses are for providing ways for the company to do things better, safer or cheaper.
  • Referral bonuses are for suggesting a new employee. The payment is made if the referral is hired.
  • Spot bonuses are out-of-the-blue payments for something special, such as a particularly good job by a worker. They function like a performance bonus, but they’re not announced in advance to serve as an incentive.
  • Task/mission bonuses are also like incentive or spot bonuses paid for a job well done, but typically they are awarded to a team rather than a single employee.

Financial and Tax Considerations

How much to pay depends on various factors. For example, when it comes to a signing bonus, the factors include what you can afford, the level and talent of the employee, and whether there is a scarcity of talent for the position you’re trying to fill. A rule of thumb for signing bonuses is 5 percent to 10 percent of base pay for professionals and middle managers.

From a tax perspective, it’s easy: bonuses of all types are taxable compensation. Withholding can be done in either of two ways:

  • Add the bonus to regular compensation and figure withholding in the usual way.
  • Withhold separately on the bonus at a flat rate of 25 percent. (For bonuses over $1 million, unlikely in a small business, the flat rate is 39.6 percent.)


It’s good business practice to review your policy on bonuses to make sure you’re staying competitive. Then determine the amount you can pay and who on your staff will receive them. Work with your CPA or other financial advisor to make sure you’re doing the right thing.

Bonus Photo via Shutterstock


High Tech Pucks Help NHL Keep Up With Industry Trends (Watch)

The latest high tech device to debut isn’t a smartphone or flying drone — it’s actually a hockey puck. The National Hockey League has teamed up with Sportvision to put chips in hockey pucks so that they can measure things like shot speed and trajectory. The pucks, along with jerseys that are also equipped with chips, are in use at this year’s World Cup of Hockey.

All that extra data might seem boring or not super useful to anyone who isn’t a sports fan. But microdata is a growing trend in sports — and in every other aspect aspect of life it seems. And this move shows that the NHL is looking to keep up.

Other sports like baseball and football give fans access to tons of data that they can analyze and obsess over. And so far, Hockey has stayed fairly low tech in comparison. But as viewers demand more and more data, it seems the NHL may have no chance but to listen. In fact, even if the NHL doesn’t choose to use the technology going forward, several teams have expressed interest in getting their hands on that type of data.

The Benefit of Being Data Driven

So this situation demonstrates not only the growing power of technology in terms of accessing data, but also the importance of keeping up with industry trends. Is there a way your small business can access more data about your industry? How would you use that data, assuming you could get your hands on it?

As with the NHL, you may find that your competitors already have a surprising amount of data at their finger tips — and that this data is being used to give other brands an edge in the marketplace. How can your business stay up with these trends and collect the data you need to grow?


How to Keep Bad Reviews from Hurting Your Business

bad reviews

A less than flattering online review about your business is not something you would normally celebrate.

However, bad customer comments will not necessarily cause your sales to plummet, provided you manage online reviews properly, promptly and efficiently.

Marketing expert Mike Ramsey, owner of, says, “You can’t stop bad reviews because we don’t live in a five-star world.”

How to Find Your Reviews Online

Before you can deal with reviews, good or bad, you’ve got to find your reviews online.

Ramsey’s first suggestion for business owners is to look for reviews by searching their company or brand name attaching the word “reviews” to the end of the name, (like “Joe’s Pizza reviews,” for example.)

Second, Ramsey said in an interview with Small Business Trends, you can search for reviews of your business by searching on Google Local, Yelp, Facebook and similar general social and review sites.  Also, a tool like Moz Local at will help you find local listing sites where reviews typically appear.

Third, Ramsey and fellow Internet marketing expert Vedran Tomic, of LocalAnts LLC, both suggest checking websites specifically targeted at businesses in your industry — such as for doctors and for attorneys.

Tomic notes consumers search for more business reviews today than ever before and on more than one website.  As a result, he says, it’s important for entrepreneurs to have a review management system in place because almost every business will eventually be faced with a bad review.

What to Do with a Bad Review

Tomic and Ramsey both recommend, when faced with a bad review, that an owner or manager reach out to the disgruntled customer. Attempt to correct the situation, but be sure to do this all offline. It’s better form to not have the negotiation and resolution appear publicly.

“Show empathy to the customer,” recommends Ramsey, who also advocates knowing all sides of the story. Offering an apology and rectifying the problem are both important when you’re in the wrong. But a more unorthodox strategy Ramsey also suggests is offering to help the buyer find a competitor that may serve them better.

“Be willing to do what’s right for the customer and be sure to diffuse the situation,” he advises. Whatever strategy seems most appropriate, Ramsey says, the key is “baking” the review process into your business operations.

Meanwhile, marketing expert Mike Blumenthal suggests a simple approach to review management:

  • Strive for reviews — you cannot change what you cannot measure.
  • Get an attractive website and build credibility with testimonials.
  • “Pepper” good reviews throughout your website.

In the event of a bad review, Blumenthal advises:

  • Small business owners need to “own the issue.”
  • Offer a mature, empathetic response.
  • Do what it takes to correct the problem. “Make it right.”

Remember Bad Reviews Don’t Have to be a Bad Thing

In fact, Blumenthal says negative reviews don’t always have to be a bad thing. They can be helpful to a small business in the long run.

“There’s usually a positive in every negative review,” Blumenthal said in a recent interview with Small Business Trends.

Negative reviews can help qualify customers because “a noisy restaurant wants noisy diners,” Blumenthal explains.

They also afford a business owner an opportunity to respond in a mature way, which will be seen by future customers.  How a bad review is handled can impress customers.

He said the public perceives a business with all five-star reviews as something that may be too good to be true. However, he notes, 80 percent of people read and believe reviews written by strangers.

“Do not fear a bad review but change your frame of reference,” Blumenthal says.

Blumenthal believes in the power of good testimonials. And he says businesses can work to find these online.

In the end, though, Blumenthal believes managing your business’s reputation online requires an ongoing effort.

“It requires a consistent process either on your own or using an outside source, and you’ll get good reviews,” he adds. “But consistency is the key.”

Yelp Website Photo via Shutterstock
Star Rating Image via Shutterstock