The state of Ohio has decided to end its support for bitcoin tax payments, state Treasurer Robert Sprague announced this week.
In a statement published on Sprague’s official website this week, the treasurer said “OhioCrypto.com,” the website that allows businesses to pay their taxes in cryptocurrency, would be suspended immediately.
“It is vital that Ohio explores innovative, new technologies and processes that continue to drive Ohio into the future,” he said. “However, we must make sure any new processes that are implemented, such as OhioCrypto.com, are established in accordance with Ohio law.”
Sprague reportedly recommended to the State Board of Deposit that it request the Ohio Attorney General for a formal opinion on whether the tax payment program constituted a “financial transaction device” under state law. An internal review at the treasurer’s office earlier this year led Sprague to conclude that BitPay, the state’s partner facilitating the tax payment option, is operating as a “financial transaction device” and should have gone through a “competitive selection process” to be chosen by state officials.
“As Ohio treasurer, it’s my job to provide trusted stewardship and protection of Ohio’s tax dollars, and to follow the laws of this state,” added Sprague. “Until a formal opinion is issued by the attorney general, I feel it is prudent to suspend the website.”
Ohio first announced its BitPay partnership last year to become the nation’s first state that allows businesses to pay taxes in bitcoin. Then-State Treasurer John Mandel said the initiative would provide “options and ease” for business taxpayers, while also supporting the state’s tech community.
“We really want to roll out the red carpet, and welcome all sorts of blockchain companies to Ohio — not just in the cryptocurrency space, but in a variety of different use cases,” he told CNBC at the time.