They have been given 18 months to complete the study and also suggest administrative and legal measures to prevent generation of black money, according to sources.
The first study on unaccounted money was conducted by NIPFP way back in 1985.
The think-tanks would also identify important sectors of the economy in which unaccounted money in generated and examine causes and conditions that result in such unaccounted money.
The other term of reference is "to suggest ways and means for detection and prevention of unaccounted money and bringing the same into the mainstream of economy".
The income tax department entered into MoU with National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCEAR), National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) and National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM) last week for conducting the study at a total cost of over Rs 7 crore.
The think-tanks would also profile the nature of activities engendering money laundering both inside and outside the country with its ramifications on national security.
The three institutes would also suggest methods to be employed for bringing to tax unaccounted money kept outside India.
Besides, it would estimate the quantum of unpaid tax due to evasion by registered corporate bodies.
Indian government is facing intense pressure from the opposition parties, as also the Supreme Court, on issue of black money allegedly stashed away by some Indians in Swiss banks and other tax havens.
Expressing serious concern over generation and circulation of black money, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said in his Budget speech that the government has adopted a five-fold strategy to deal with the menace.
"The generation and circulation of black money is an area of serious concern. To deal with this problem effectively, the government has put into operation a five-fold strategy which consists of joining the global crusade against black money," Mukherjee had said.