China’s ByteDance In Further Soup, Indian Authorities Freeze Bank Accounts For ‘Tax Evasion’: Report

It has been a struggle for ByteDance’s social media apps, including the popular short video App TikTok, in India after they were banned along with 59 other Chinese Apps in June of 2020. After the ban was made permanent, in January 2021 the Chinese company cut down its major Indian employees. However, it was reported that ByteDance retained nearly 1,300 people on their payroll in India for their overseas operations. Now reports are coming in that ByteDance is being scrutinised for tax evasion in India.

In a report published in Reuters, it has been informed that Indian authorities have blocked “bank accounts in Citibank and HSBC for alleged evasion of certain taxes in online advertising dealings between the ByteDance unit in India and its parent entity in Singapore.”

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The report by Reuters further elaborates, that Indian authorities have directed the aforementioned bank authorities to not allow ByteDance India to use their accounts for any financial withdrawal “linked to its tax identification number”.

It further elaborates that ByteDance has called the action by Indian authorities a violation “to carry free trade and business”.

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India had earlier banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, UC Browser, and WeChat, citing harm to “sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state and public order”. The Indian government gave time to these companies to give a probable explanation regarding compliance with privacy and security requirements.

On not being satisfied with the response from various companies, the ban was made permanent under section 69A of the Information Technology Act.

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