Author: Gan Jia Ci
A Florida tax collector declared that his office will start to accept Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash this summer after partnering up with payment processor BitPay. This marks the first time a U.S. government agency has incorporated cryptocurrency as a means of payment.
In the past, paying taxes via debit or credit card incurs a third-party fee due to the use of a third-party processor. With the new usage of blockchain, not only will the tax collector be able to eliminate many of the unnecessary fees, but also improve on the accuracy, efficiency and transparency of the payment system for the Seminole County taxpayers.
Joel Greenberg, Seminole County Tax Collector, stated, “We live in a world where technology has made access to services on demand, with same-day delivery and the expectation of highly efficient customer service and we should expect the same from our government.”
Greenberg added, “The aim of my tenure in office is to make our customer experience faster, smarter, and more efficient, and to bring government services from the 18th century into the 21st century and one way is the addition of cryptocurrency to our payment options.”
Greenberg took office in January 2017 after being elected as Tax Collector in November 2016. On numerous occasions, he expressed interest in adopting new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain technology and more for his office.
Greenberg teamed up with BitPay, a global Bitcoin payment service provider that was founded in 2011. This partnership will be the first government collaboration for BitPay. The Seminole County Tax Collector will be accepting the mentioned cryptocurrencies for services like driver licenses, property tax, ID cards and automobile tags and titles. The office will receive the payment on the next business day through BitPay and the payment will be transferred to the bank account in USD.
The rationale for accepting cryptocurrencies is to ensure a smooth flow of fee collection, lower the number of scams and identity theft. The office also hopes that the new adoption will help promote the transparency and precision of payments. They added that they do not see any “price volatility or risk to the County” in their decision to accept cryptocurrencies.
While The Seminole County Tax Collector is the first government agency to accept cryptocurrencies, many other local government agencies have also proposed the same idea before. Coindesk reported in May 4 that Arizona proposed a bill which sought to allow Arizona’s Department of Revenue to accept cryptocurrencies for tax payments, but it was stripped.