Ohio businesses will be able to pay taxes in bitcoin using OhioCrypto.com starting this week, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel has partnered with Atlanta-based Bitpay to let business owners pay everything from Sales Tax to Premium Insurance Tax with a few swipes on their smartphones.
Large and small businesses are encouraged to use the service, which Mr. Mandel says has been in high demand.
“I do see [bitcoin] as a legitimate form of currency, ” the Republican treasurer told the Wall Street Journal.
“From mom and pop coffee shops to Fortune 100 companies, businesses now have the ability to pay their taxes with OhioCrypto.com.”
This doesn’t guarantee the eventual legalisation of bitcoin. Instead, “It [is] a kind of tacit approval that bitcoin has so far lacked,” Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Vigna explained.
“I do see [bitcoin] as a legitimate form of currency” – Josh Mandel (R) Ohio State Treasurer
Pending the success of this trial run with Bitpay, the option to file taxes in bitcoin will be open to individuals as well.
Where No State Has Gone Before
Ohio isn’t the first state to consider implementing tax payment with bitcoin – Illinois, Georgia and Arizona have all seen similar legislation.
But while those bills failed to pass, Mr. Mandel has used his clout as an elected official to bypass the legislature and the governor altogether.
There is concern however that this groundbreaking service could lose backing when the treasurer leaves office.
Mr. Mandel will be replaced by Treasurer-elect Robert Sprague in 2019. Mr. Sprague may be a Republican party member like the outgoing treasurer, but his allegiance to crypto is not clear.
This would mirror Delaware’s unsuccessful efforts to introduce blockchain in corporate registry services two years ago. When then-Governor Jack Markell finished his term, any progress with the blockchain project ended as well.
“From mom and pop coffee shops to Fortune 100 companies, businesses now have the ability to pay their taxes with [our website]” – OhioCrypto.com
For the time being though, OhioCrypto.com is a sure thing. And pending any unexpected technical issues, it may become a permanent thing as well.
The outlook is positive elsewhere in the US too. The recent midterm election flooded the field with more crypto-converted politicians from California to Colorado, setting the stage for bitcoin’s second coming in state legislatures.
Liz is a Canadian journalist and writer for Bitcoin Australia. Connect with her on Twitter @Elizabeth_Utley, or on Linkedin as Elizabeth Utley.