JUST IN: FG files tax evasion charges against Binance

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The Federal Government on Monday launched proceedings against Binance, a popular cryptocurrency exchange platform, over tax evasion.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service filed the accusations in the Federal High Court in Abuja.

In the complaint, filed under the number FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, FIRS accused Binance of four counts of tax evasion, claiming that it was a decisive move aimed at enforcing fiscal responsibility and protecting the country’s economic integrity.

Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, senior officials at Binance currently in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, are named as second and third defendants in the action, alongside the crypto business.

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The charges levied against Binance include non-payment of Value-Added Tax and Company Income Tax, failure to file tax returns, and complicity in aiding customers in evading taxes through its platform.

In the suit, the Federal Government also accused Binance of failure to register with FIRS for tax purposes and contravening existing tax regulations within the country.

One of the lawsuit’s counts concerns Binance’s alleged failure to collect and remit various categories of taxes to the federation as stipulated by Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007.

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Section 40 of the Act explicitly addresses the non-deduction and non-remittance of taxes, prescribing penalties and potential imprisonment for defaulting entities.

The charges further detail specific instances where Binance purportedly violated tax laws, such as failing to issue invoices for VAT purposes, thus obstructing the determination and payment of taxes by subscribers.

“The Finance Act deems any company that transacts business in excess of N25 million annually to be present in Nigeria.

“According to this rule, Binance falls into that category. So, it must pay taxes like Company Income Tax (CIT) and collect and pay Value Added Tax (VAT).

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“But Binance did not do this properly. So, the company broke Nigerian laws and could be investigated and taken to court for this infraction,” Adekanmbi said.

FIRS is empowered by the law setting it up and various others to assess, collect, and account for revenue accruing to the Federation and administer relevant tax laws.

Binance pleaded guilty to flouting anti-money laundering laws in the United States in late 2023, settling for a plea bargain that cost the company $ 4.3 billion.

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