Overstock, a major internet retailer, is currently set to pay its Ohio business taxes in bitcoin, following the introduction of a new state tax program.
The company recently issued a press release describing its plans, claiming that “it will become the first major U.S. company to pay a portion of its Ohio state business taxes in bitcoin using the state’s new cryptocurrency taxpayer platform.”
Ohio announced this program in late November 2018, the first crypto-friendly tax initiative of its sort. The measure did not come up before any elected body or the governor’s office, and instead was directly implemented by State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s office.
Because of this manner of procedure, the change to the state tax law is by no means comprehensive. According to OhioCrypto.com, businesses are allowed to pay state taxes in bitcoin but individuals have no such option. The thinking behind this decision was that businesses alone should be able to make some proof of concept that the system is practical on a larger scale, and Overstock could do just that.
Overstock’s founder and CEO Patrick Byrne offered enthusiasm about this decision in the release, claiming that Overstock was “proud to partner with forward-thinking governments and officials like Ohio and Treasurer Mandel to help usher in an era of trust through technology for our nation’s essential financial systems.”
Overstock has long been a proponent of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Mandel claimed that “their embrace of blockchain technology was ahead of its time,” as the business began accepting cryptocurrency payments in January 2014, which took off very quickly. Bryne stated that he has “long thought that thoughtful governmental adoption of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies … is the best way to ensure the U.S. does not lose our place at the forefront of the ever-advancing global economy.”
Byrne and Overstock have also backed the cryptocurrency project tZERO, a blockchain-based subsidiary and trading platform for equity tokens.
With this first prominent business taking advantage of Ohio’s new tax site, other businesses may also follow suit. There does not seem to be any specific incentive in using cryptocurrency in this fashion, but, nevertheless, it is providing concrete data that such a plan is feasible in the United States. With previous failures from various states trying to pass crypto tax payment laws, Ohio’s situation is currently a unique opportunity.