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Overstock, First to Pay Tax in Ohio Using Bitcoin

Overstock, First to Pay Tax in Ohio Using Bitcoin

As the tax season approaches, popular US-based online retailer Overstock has said in a press release on 3 January that it will be the first US company to pay some of its Commercial Activities Tax (CAT) to the Ohio State in Bitcoin.

According to the press release, the payment will be done through the “state’s new cryptocurrency taxpayer platform, OhioCrypto.com,” following an announcement made by the State of Ohio last year that it will begin accepting tax payments in Bitcoin.

Overstock CEO and founder Patrick M. Byrne takes a positive stance with the government in ushering the era of smart technologies like the blockchain along with trust package. He said: “We have long thought that thoughtful governmental adoption of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies (when accompanied by non-restrictive legislation over these technologies) is the best way to ensure the US does not lose our place at the forefront of the ever-advancing global economy.”

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel commended the efforts of the retail giant to adapt quickly to the emerging markets being created by cryptocurrencies, saying that “their embrace of blockchain technology was ahead of its time.”

The State of Ohio is the first in the US to consider Bitcoin for tax payment. The OhioCrypto platform was launched in November last year. The office of the Ohio Treasurer will receive the US dollar equivalent of the Bitcoin through cryptocurrency gateway BitPay.

OhioCrypto offers businesses the opportunity to pay their taxes in cryptocurrency at a relatively cheaper transaction fee when compared with credit card transaction fee of 2.5 percent.

The history of Overstock is filled with consolidated efforts towards blockchain and cryptocurrency dominance, with partnership and publicly trading stocks issued through the blockchain in the wake of its blockchain adoption in 2014. At the time when it was just Bitcoin, a few Bitcoin alternatives, and initiator of smart contracts Ethereum. It began accepting Bitcoin as a payment option alongside MasterCard and PayPal.

While the Overstock company is scheduled to be sold next month, the blockchain-based business subsidiary Medici Ventures will remain active. More so, its security trading platform tZERO was regarded as one of the overachieving cryptocurrency projects last year after Chinese private equity firm GSR Capital showed interest in the project.

Ohio sits on the crypto-friendly list with its blockchain hub and enthusiasts pooling resources to fund startups. Now with the OhioCrypto tax payment platform, it stands on par with many other jurisdictions seeking worldwide Bitcoin adoption.

 

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Bitcoin Adoption Milestone as Ohio Accepts Bitcoin for Tax Bills

In a milestone for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption, the state of Ohio has officially begun to accept Bitcoin for tax payments via OhioCrypto.com, and will be adding more cryptocurrencies in the future. This effort has been spearheaded by the Treasurer of Ohio, Josh Mandel, and is the first time in United States history that a state government has accepted Bitcoin for taxes.

OhioCrypto.com touts Bitcoin payments for taxes as beneficial because the process will be quick and easy, transparent, secure, have real-time tracking, the fees charged by the Bitcoin network are minimal, and payments can be done on mobile phones or tablets. It is particularly aimed at businesses, from mom and pop shops to major corporations, and is not a portal for individual tax payers.

In the FAQ, it says OhioCrypto.com was created because “Treasurer Mandel believes in leveraging cutting-edge technology to provide Ohioans more options and ease while interfacing with state government. The Treasurer’s office is also working to help make Ohio a national leader in blockchain technology… Treasurer Mandel has a proven record of leveraging technology to change how citizens interact with government”.

In total, 23 types of taxes can be paid with Bitcoin, including 911 wireless, cigarettes and tobacco products, commercial activity (CAT), consumer’s use, direct pay permit, financial institution (FIT), interest on lawyers trust accounts (IOLTA), international fuel tax agreement (IFTA), kilowatt hour, motor vehicle fuel (MVFT), natural gas distribution (Mcf), non-resident motor vehicles sales tax, pass-thru entity tax (PTE), petroleum activity (PAT), premium insurance tax, public utilities tax, sales tax, seller’s use tax, severance tax, streamlined sales tax (SST), and withholding tax. This is essentially the full spectrum of taxes that Ohio businesses have to pay.

All payments will be converted to fiat via BitPay to avoid market volatility and the Treasurer of Ohio will not be holding any Bitcoin. Most typical Bitcoin wallets are compatible with OhioCrypto.com, such as Bitcoin Core or Blockchain.com, and users will either scan a QR code or copy and paste a Bitcoin address to complete payment.

In the United States, Bitcoin has been regulated as property by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a security by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and a commodity by the Commodity and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). However, now at least the Ohio Treasurer’s office is implicitly recognizing Bitcoin as a currency with the launching of OhioCrypto.com. Mandel explicitly says it too: “I do see [bitcoin] as a legitimate form of currency.”

 

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