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Music Gets Modernized For The Digital Era. Congress passed and sent to President Trump a sweeping overhaul of the way songwriters, performers and other music industry creatives are compensated when their works are streamed, downloaded and broadcast via satellite. The president had not taken a public position on the Music Modernization Act prior to passage, but his approval was widely expected. The Music Modernization Act creates a new blanket license for the use of songs that are downloaded or streamed on "interactive" services that let users select their own content, such as on the paid subscription tiers of Spotify and similar services. It also establishes a new collective to administer those licenses and to maintain a database to associate songs with their writers. It provides a uniform federal standard for the use of pre-1972 recordings not previously covered under federal copyright law and a safe harbor for the noncommercial use of those older recordings. It also provides a uniform mechanism to compensate producers who are involved in making sound recordings. H.R. 1551, the Orrin G. Hatch – Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act.

A Backdoor For Roth IRA Contributions Remains Open. Taxpayers whose incomes are too high to allow direct contributions to a Roth IRA can still establish the tax-sheltered accounts by contributing to a traditional IRA that they then convert to a Roth, the Internal Revenue Service confirmed. However, after Oct. 15 this year (for conversions made in 2017), these so-called backdoor Roth contributions are a one-way street, because such "recharacterizations" of Roth conversions are no longer permitted under the new tax law. Unlike regular IRAs, whose earnings are taxed when withdrawn, Roth IRA earnings are tax-free upon qualifying distribution. 2018 TNT 133-2.

Florida’s Seminole County Accepts Bitcoin For Tax Payments. Seminole County in central Florida was reportedly the first county in the nation to begin accepting cryptocurrency for local tax payments. County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg announced in May that the county would accept bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash for driver's license and business license fees beginning in the summer, and for the property tax payments that become due under Florida's early payment discount system in November. Greenberg said his county will use BitPay to determine the exchange rate and convert the cryptocurrency to dollars immediately, avoiding exposure to the sometimes dramatic short-term fluctuations in cryptocurrency prices. Greenberg said in a news release that the cryptocurrency payments will avoid hefty credit card processing charges and identity theft risks associated with more conventional online payment mechanisms. Seminole County includes the city of Sanford and numerous northern suburbs of Orlando. 2018 STT 95-6.

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