A pair of New Hampshire lawmakers filed a bill this month that, if approved, would let state-level agencies accept cryptocurrencies as payment, including the state’s tax office.
Representatives Dennis Acton and Michael Yakubovich introduced House Bill 470 on Jan. 3, which seeks to require New Hampshire’s state agencies accept cryptocurrencies for taxes and other fees through a third-party entity.
Under current New Hampshire regulations, only U.S. dollars may be accepted by state agencies for payments at present, and any other currencies used would be returned to the sender. If the bill passes, it would allow these agencies to accept an undetermined number and type of cryptocurrencies through “an appropriate third party payment processor that will process cryptocurrency transactions at no cost to the state.”
“Assuming legislation is approved to amend this statute, the issues of valuation and currency risk are heightened by the volatility of cryptocurrency (bitcoin) fluctuations in value against the U.S. dollar,” the bill’s text explains, going on to state:
“Tax payments received by the state would need to be converted to U.S. dollars or alternatively, mitigate such risk by continually monitoring cryptocurrency levels held by the state to ensure there is as much demand for state payments to vendors and payees as the state has in its ‘inventory’.”
If implemented, New Hampshire agencies would start accepting cryptocurrencies on July 1, 2020. A hearing was scheduled for Jan. 23, according to public records, but as of press time, there is no recording of that hearing yet available.
Past bill didn’t pass
New Hampshire’s legislature has previously debated the merits of accepting bitcoin for taxes. A 2015 bill directed the state to partner with a bitcoin startup to accept payments made using the cryptocurrency.
Public records indicated at the time that the bill died in committee, having previously faced opposition from some lawmakers at the time. Other efforts, in states like Arizona, had progressed before falling to the wayside as well.
Should New Hampshire pass the measure, the state would join Ohio in accepting bitcoin payments. The Buckeye State announced last year that it would accept bitcoin for taxes through an online portal.
Ohio partnered with BitPay to convert any bitcoins submitted into U.S. dollars. It is unclear how many companies have done so to date, though digital retailer Overstock became the first major firm to do so earlier this year.
On Jan. 3, the company announced it would pay a portion of its 2019 taxes using bitcoin.