Overstock first to pay taxes in crypto
Retail giant Overstock.com, Inc. announced that it will be using cryptocurrency to pay business taxes owed in Ohio.
A press release from the company said that its February payment of commercial activity tax (CAT) through the OhioCrypto.com platform will make it “the first major U.S. company” to pay a part of its taxes in digital currency.
Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne said of the planned payment, “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 U.S. does not lose our place at the forefront of the ever-advancing global economy.”
He added that collaborating with Ohio officials in making the payment will “help usher in an era of trust through technology for our nation’s essential financial systems.”
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel was quoted in the same press statement as saying that Overstock’s “embrace of blockchain technology was ahead of its time and we’re proud to have them join OhioCrypto.com.”
This is the latest of Overstock’s moves closer to cryptocurrencies. The company has announced plans for tZero, a regulated exchange specifically for token sales.
Through subsidiary Medici Ventures, Overstock has invested in a wine futures trading platform run by VinX. Medici has also invested $2.5 million in blockchain software provider Grainchain, for the tracking of agricultural product deliveries.
Byrne said last November that he was looking to sell his retail business to focus solely on the cryptocurrency sector, and that the deal could be finalized by early this year.
The state of Ohio, through Mandel’s initiative, launched its website accepting BTC payments last November. Aside from commercial activities, Ohio businesses, even those that haven’t registered prior, could also pay 22 other taxes, including tobacco sales, public utilities, general sales, motor vehicles fuel, and 911 Wireless. Currently, personal taxes can not be paid through OhioCrypto.com.
The state charges a 1% transaction fee, which it said is competitive next to a 2.5% fee for payments via credit card.
As further evidence of Ohio’s cryptocurrency-friendliness, its House representative Warren Davidson has introduced a bill that would categorize initial coin offerings (ICOs) as distinct from securities. Their regulation would be outside the reach of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has been criticized in some quarters for not making it easier for companies to comply with regulations.
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