Ohio to Begin Accepting Tax Payments in Bitcoin
Business owners in the Buckeye state will soon be able to pay for various taxes using Bitcoin. As the Wall Street Journal reports, later this week OhioCrypto.com will enable businesses to register and pay taxes using BTC. Sometime down the road, a similar option will also be available to individual taxpayers. This news, while not huge in its own right, could actually mark a fairly significant milestone for cryptocurrency.
With this new endeavor, Ohio will become the first state to accept Bitcoin payments for tax bills. You may recall that other states such as Arizona were attempting to enact legislation that would allow for such a change, but many of those bills have stalled. In contrast, Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel says his department has the authority to allow Bitcoin payments without any legislative or executive action.
Speaking to WSJ, Mandel said he viewed the move as a convenience but that he also hoped that’d he’d be “planting a flag” for cryptocurrency adoption in Ohio. Mandel went on to say that he viewed Bitcoin as “a legitimate form of currency.” As a result the Treasurer says he’d like to see other states follow his lead on the matter.
While it’s unclear how many small businesses or individuals might take advantage of the ability to pay their taxes in Bitcoin, the move does grant cryptocurrencies a kind of government acceptance rarely seen up to this point. For years cryptocurrencies had been associated with “the dark web” and illicit practices that some early adopters may have participated in. That’s why Jerry Brito of the research firm Coin Center says this gesture on Ohio’s part could start to change perceptions about Bitcoin. Brito explains that the new policy “does help send a message that Bitcoin’s a technology that can be used by anybody — by bad guys but also by the government.”
Incidentally OhioCyrpto.com’s launch comes as Bitcoin is experiencing some major price troubles. After breaking below its perceived $6,000 floor earlier this month, the currency has continued to fall and is currently trading at less than $4,000 per coin. That not only represents its lowest level since September 2017 but also marks a 40% decline so far this month.
One final note is that Mandel’s term as State Treasurer comes to an end in January. This has led to some speculation as to whether his Bitcoin tax payments plan will end up only living a short life. Despite those concerns Mandel says he is “confident that this cryptocurrency initiative will continue.” Hopefully Mandel is right in that assertion — and that his efforts might help boost a currently-flailing Bitcoin.