UTAH Successfully Passes Bitcoin-Friendly Bill

The State of Utah has passed the Bitcoin-friendly bill allowing the residents to pay their taxes in Bitcoin.

Photo: kalsang_1999/Flickr

Photo: kalsang_1999/Flickr

The Bitcoin bill, H.C.R. 6 Substitute Concurrent Resolution on Payment Options for State Services, permitting the residents of the state to use their bitcoins for tax payments, has been passed by the State of Utah. In January, the bill was introduced by state representative Mark K. Roberts and was backed by Senator Todd Weiler.

The resolution encouraged widespread use of the digital currency proposing the creation of the Council on Payment Options for State Services to investigate the possibilities and outcome of accepting Bitcoin as a payment method.

The bill resolved that the council should include the certain persons from the public as well as private entities such as the representatives from the State Treasurer’s office, the Division of Finance, the State Tax Commission, the Department of Technology Services, the local advocacy groups in favor of Bitcoin, and merchant systems.

Actually, it’s almost unbelievable that Bitcoin, often portrayed by critics as a way to conduct illegal activities, avoid taxes and hide money from the government, is likely to be officially used in tax payments.

It’s worth mentioning that another bill, NH HB552, was introduced in February. It proposed to accept Bitcoin for taxes and fees in New Hampshire. If passed, the bill would require the state treasurer to develop an implementation plan to address “any accounting, valuation, and management issues relative to the acceptance of bitcoin and identify an appropriate third party payment processor that will process bitcoin transactions at no cost to the state.” The above-mentioned bill is short, it only mentions the financial implications of collecting tax payments in Bitcoin.

In contrast, the Utah bill is a bit less pragmatic. It reads about the important benefits that Bitcoin is able to bring to the state’s technological leadership and economy:

“Technology industries, including emerging technologies, play a growing role in [economy] and culture. The state must also remain open to new technologies and ideas to continue attracting talented and educated entrepreneurs. [Bitcoin] provides merchants with an attractive alternative mechanism for accepting payments, because transaction fees for Bitcoin are generally much lower than those imposed by other payment processors. “

In addition to that, the state of Utah is also the home state of Overstock, a large online retailer that allows users to pay in bitcoin.

However, New Hampshire and Utah were not the only states to introduce their Bitcoin Bills. The New York City Council represented by its Democratic member, Mark Levine, introduced a bill that would “allow residents to pay for any fines and fees they owe the city using Bitcoin,” reports New York Post. Mr Levine says:

”It started with realizing how much money the city of New York is losing on transaction fees on credit cards, ultimately it’s several million a year because of all sorts of fees and fines. [I] think that being the first major city in the U.S. to make this move sends a clear signal that we’re innovators here.”

It’s necessay to say that the three above-mentioned bills are similar: they are promoting Bitcoin payments which would save a lot of money and attract top tech talents.

Still, we can see the difference: the Utah and New York City bills represent the business-oriented vision of a regulated Bitcoin economy, the New Hampshire bill reflects “the free-wheeling Libertarian spirit”. Naturally, future developments in the industry are likely to be influenced by both.

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