Treasurer Suspends Ohio’s Bitcoin Tax Program

Oct 3, 2019

After less than a year and a handful of transactions, the website that was allowing Ohioans to pay taxes in bitcoin has been shut down by state treasurer Robert Sprague.

Former treasurer Josh Mandel announced the site last year.

“We’re proud to make Ohio the first state in America to enable taxpayers to pay their taxes via cryptocurrency," he said in November.

It allowed Ohioans to use bitcoin to pay 23 kinds of taxes - from commercial activity taxes to gas and cigarette taxes to sales taxes to employee withholding taxes. The program was limited to those doing business in Ohio.

The state never actually took in or held any bitcoin – the Atlanta-based vendor Bitpay processed the payments. Mandel had said he hoped a company located in Ohio would eventually do payment processing for cryptocurrency.

After taking office this year, Sprague had said in February that his staff was looking into the program.

Sprague now says he’s concerned that there should have been a competitive bidding process under state law, and he’s suspending the program pending a ruling from the Attorney General.

The Treasurer’s office says in its 10 months of operations, fewer than 10 businesses chose to pay their taxes in cryptocurrency.