Ohio Accepts Bitcoin for Tax Payments
The U.S. state of Ohio has set up a cryptocurrency payment portal and reportedly starts accepting payments in bitcoin for 23 types of taxes this week. “Ohio has become the first state in the United States, and one of the first governments in the world, to accept cryptocurrency,” the Treasurer’s Office wrote.
The office of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has set up a cryptocurrency tax payment portal at Ohiocrypto.com. The website explains that businesses do not have to be Ohio-headquartered to pay their taxes in cryptocurrency, adding:
Under the leadership of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, taxpayers are able to pay their state business taxes with cryptocurrency for the first time anywhere in America. Ohio has become the first state in the United States, and one of the first governments in the world, to accept cryptocurrency.
“Beginning this week, Ohio businesses will be able to go to the website Ohiocrypto.com and register to pay everything from cigarette sales taxes to employee withholding taxes with bitcoin.” the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. “Eventually, the initiative will expand to individual filers.”
23 Eligible Types of Taxes
According to the Ohiocrypto website, cryptocurrency can be used to pay for 23 types of taxes.
Eligible taxes are 911 wireless, cigarette / other tobacco products, commercial activity, consumer’s use, direct pay permit, financial institution, interest on lawyers trust accounts, international fuel tax agreement, kilowatt hour, motor vehicle fuel, municipal net profits, municipal tax electric light & telephone, natural gas distribution, non-resident motor vehicle sales tax, pass-thru entity tax, petroleum activity, premium insurance tax, public utilities tax, sales tax, seller’s use tax, severance tax, streamlined sales tax, and withholding tax.
The Ohiocrypto website also outlines the benefits of paying with cryptocurrency. Firstly, it is “quick and easy” for taxpayers, the website claims. There are three steps to follow: registering on the website, entering tax payment amounts and tax period dates, and then using “your compatible cryptocurrency wallet to pay the invoice with bitcoin.”
Secondly, payments are tracked in “real-time on the blockchain.” Thirdly, they are secured as “Cryptocurrencies cannot be transferred to third parties without user initiation,” the site notes, adding that transparency is another benefit since “anyone can view all transactions on the blockchain.” Furthermore, there are mobile options allowing taxpayers to make payments on their phones or tablets. The website also notes that “A minimal fee is charged to confirm transactions on the blockchain network.”
Regarding which cryptocurrencies are accepted, the Ohiocrypto website clarifies, “Taxpayers can currently pay their taxes with Ohiocrypto.com in bitcoin,” adding “the Treasurer’s office looks forward to adding more cryptocurrencies in the future.” The state will not be keeping any bitcoins, however. The Treasury’s Office emphasizes:
At no point will the Treasurer’s office hold cryptocurrency. Payments made on Ohiocrypto.com, through our third party cryptocurrency payment processor partner Bitpay, are immediately converted to USD before being deposited into a state account.
Bitpay usually processes both BTC and BCH payments. However, BCH payment processing is unavailable at this time due to the Nov. 15 hard fork of the BCH network. “Bitpay has temporarily paused bitcoin cash payment processing until we determine that customers can pay safely,” the company wrote.
In general, to pay taxes using either BTC or BCH, taxpayers need to use compatible wallets which both the Ohiocrypto website and Bitpay have listed. Compatible wallets include Bitpay’s own wallet, Copay wallet, Btc.com wallet, Mycelium wallet, Edge wallet (formerly Airbitz), Electrum wallet, Bitcoin Core wallet, Bitcoin.com wallet, BRD wallet (breadwallet), and Electron Cash Wallet.
“First, select the cryptocurrency you’d like to pay in from the drop-down and select either bitcoin or bitcoin cash (currently unavailable at this time),” the payment instruction on the Ohiocrypto website reads. The website further describes:
Our third-party cryptocurrency payment processor locks an exchange rate (USD to BTC or BCH) for 15 minutes. If you do not submit your payment within 15 minutes, then you must restart your transaction – which will include an updated exchange rate.
A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.