Earlier this month, Cleveland's Great Lakes Science Center began accepting Bitcoin for admission to the museum. In a landmark decision, Ohio has now become the first U.S. state allowing businesses within the state to use Bitcoin as a means of tax payment. This groundbreaking payment option was lead by Treasurer of Ohio, Josh Mandel. Mandel was motivated by allowing Ohio businesses the use of "cutting-edge" technology and ease-of-use, inherent with Bitcoin transactions, when interfacing with the state government.
Businesses do not need to be headquartered in Ohio to take part in Bitcoin payments, but do need to operate and have an Ohio tax bill for this option. As mentioned above, the treasurer's office understands that this will be beneficial to businesses operating in Ohio because Bitcoin transactions tend to be: quick and easy, offer real-time tracking (using a block explorer), are secure, require low fees, allow for transparency (as all transactions are viewable on the blockchain), and allow for mobile payments. There will be 23 total taxes that can be paid using Bitcoin at OhioCrypto.com:
· 911 Wireless
· Cigarette / Other 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)
· Municipal Net Profits
· Municipal Tax Electric Light & Telephone
· Natural Gas Distribution (Mcf)
· Non-Resident Motor Vehicle 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)
· Withholding Tax
Plans to allow payments in other cryptocurrencies are in the works, and all Bitcoin payments received as payment will immediately be converted into USD, then deposited into a State account. Ohio has chosen BitPay to process their Bitcoin payments, and their 15 minute payment window for receiving transactions. There will be a 3 month introductory period of 0% fees for making a tax payment in Bitcoin, after which will be a 1% fee. OhioCrypto.com points out that using a credit card to make this payment will incur a cost of 2.5%, further expressing the notion that Bitcoin is cheaper to transact with than credit cards.
The choice to use BitPay as the payment processor is likely due to BitPay's use of BIP70, which presents a URL to the payer, in which the exact payment amount and payment address are included. Those being prompted to pay a BitPay payment request will need to use a compatible Bitcoin wallet (BitPay wallet, Copay Wallet, Mycelium wallet, Edge, Electrum, BRD). OhioCrypto.com INCORRECTLY lists Bitcoin Cash Wallets as an option, which DO NOT TRANSACT BITCOIN (BTC), and ONLY SEND BITCOIN CASH (BCHSV/BCHABC. If you wish to send your businesses tax payment to the Treasurer of Ohio and do not wish to use one of the BitPay compatible wallets, you can always visit CoinNinja.com and use our BIP70 Buster Tool, which will deconstruct the BitPay request, giving you all payment info (amount, address, etc), and allow you to make payment from ANY Bitcoin wallet.
Well done Ohio, this is exciting news, especially ahead of Cleveland's Blockland Conference, which seeks to further establish Ohio as a national leader in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency adoption. We are hopeful that individual tax payments will also allow the use of Bitcoin in the future.