United Kingdom parliament member Eddie Hughes is reportedly advocating for citizens to pay state taxes with bitcoin, according to Expressco.uk.
The website reports that Hughes was struck by the idea after visiting a charitable organisation that accepts Bitcoin for donations.
“If we can [donate] with it, what’s to stop us from being able to pay council tax and other bills with Bitcoin?” the member for Walsall North asked himself.
In fact, the people of Walsall North may start doing so sooner than they think.
Taxation with cryptocurrency was approved in Ohio last month, where business-owners can pay more than 20 types of tax from their crypto wallets.
Ohio isn’t the first American state to consider implementing bitcoin tax payment either – Illinois, Georgia and Arizona have all tried it.
But will the trend catch on across the pond?
With a determined politician like Hughes leading the charge, it is only a matter of time.
“We are at a crossroads,” he explained. “We’re about to determine our future – one in which taking the lead in this field could prove very beneficial.”
Been Around the Block(chain)
The member for Walsall North is a longtime supporter of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, and he first proposed taxation by Bitcoin in July 2018.
“If we can [donate] with it, what’s to stop us from being able to pay council tax and other bills with Bitcoin?” – UK MP Eddie Hughes
In a policy brief for libertarian lobby group FreerUK, Hughes described cost-saving benefits of the payment system – and how taxpayers could profit.
“A concerted embrace of blockchain and associated technologies could lead to significant savings for the UK Exchequer. Such savings could offer a substantial ‘digital dividend’ to pass back to taxpayers or reinvest in services.”
Along with savings, Hughes believes that paying taxes with Bitcoin will be more efficient. The underlying technology can be applied to similar systems, like processing tariffs on foreign goods, as well.
Hughes calls himself a “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge,” but this politician is certainly on the right track – and he’s not afraid to put his money where his mouth is.
The MP proudly made his first Bitcoin transaction in October, and shared his success on Twitter.
Just made my first #bitcoin transaction! Hopefully @RNLI received 0.004BTC (about 20 quid) from me courtesy of @eToro via my new @SamouraiWallet #cryptocurrency #TheFutureIsNow pic.twitter.com/GOzgqOpwQm
— Eddie Hughes MP (@EddieHughes4WN) October 6, 2018
Slowly but Surely
The recent market decline may be a blessing in disguise for Hughes and other British crypto fans, as regulators in Britain have more time to develop appropriate policies.
“We want to take the time to look at that in a bit more depth, and make sure we a take proportionate approach,” Gillian Dorner told the audience at a City & Financial conference in November.
Dorner is the deputy director for financial services at Britain’s Finance Ministry. Until recently, her office was under extreme pressure to implement tough regulations over crypto-assets.
But reduced interest in cryptocurrencies has also reduced the urgency of this task.
“A concerted embrace of blockchain and associated technologies could lead to significant savings for the UK Exchequer.” – UK MP Eddie Hughes
The current lull in activity gives regulators the chance to explore the possibilities of Bitcoin, and create controls that won’t hamper further innovation – like systems for taxes.
This is an opportunity for everyone in the UK, and Eddie Hughes knows it.
“You’re either ahead of the curve or you’re behind the curve,” he said. “Our country is in an interesting position right now, and we need to be seen as a progressive country.”
Liz is a Canadian journalism student and content producer at Bitcoin UK. Connect with her on twitter at https://twitter.com/Elizabeth_Utley