In a time when most of us are debating whether to pay our next tax bill via credit card with the accompanying exorbitant fees, negotiate a payment plan, or suck it up and do it all in one painful cash lump sum, Overstock has opted to pay its Ohio state business taxes in Bitcoin.
This momentous event — the first of its kind for a national or international company — was announced on Thursday, Jan 3, 2019 by Overstock.
The statement neatly coincides with the birthday of Bitcoin — the day when Satoshi Nakamoto created the first genesis block of the Bitcoin blockchain. The block ironically contained a headline from a newspaper that day, stating “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”In the face of recent stock and bank concerns, Bitcoin's ten year birthday remains a statement on financial freedom. Click To Tweet
— Jeff Roberts (@jeffjohnroberts) January 3, 2019
Ohio leading the way
The state of Ohio launched its digital currency payment portal as part of the Ohio Bitcoin initiative just a few months before. Called OhioCrypto, the initiative gives business entities the opportunity to remit taxes in cryptocurrency. Ohio is the first state in the US to initiate this level of forward-thinking tax payment program.
A local auto dealership has already paid its taxes in Bitcoin through the OhioCrypto portal, making it the first business to use the new payment option.
Ohio state officials comment that the Bitcoin tax collection initiative is not just for the convenience of payments, but also part of an effort for Ohio to establish itself as a trailblazer in digital currency payment option adoption, as well as a supporter of blockchain technology.
Programs like this are the foundation of widespread digital currency adoption, and Ohio’s program is setting a precedent for other states to offer cryptocurrency payment alternatives, rather than fiat money and credit card payments. Eventually, there is hope that even tax remittances at the federal level could be paid in Bitcoin.
Feeless, as it should be
For Overstock, which plans to file taxes early, no fee will be charged with payment. Tax payments filed within the regular time frame will incur a fee of one percent. This is in contrast to credit card payors, who will be required to pay a two and a half percent service charge with payment. For many businesses, payment fees of that level can really add up.
The Ohio Bitcoin initiative encompasses business taxes for 23 types of industries, including fuel and tobacco. The program may expand to include other tax types for businesses, as well as individual tax obligations.
Ironically, the payment collection responsibility has been delegated to a third party service provider Atlanta-based BitPay. BitPay will accept payments for the state of Ohio, and then remit them to the state in U.S. dollars.
Overstock has been a longtime cryptocurrency supporter, with Bitcoin payment options available for several years. Many other digital currency payment options were also added to the Overstock payment portal in 2017. CEO and founder Patrick M. Byrne has always been an ardent supporter of cryptocurrency, believing that such advances will allow the US to remain at the forefront of global financial markets.
What a great way for Overstock and the state of Ohio to commemorate Bitcoin’s tenth birthday!
Think this type of payment will catch on in the years to come? Or is it just a flash in a pan for Bitcoin’s birthday? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock.