Thursday, January 16, 2020

Is "Okay, Boomer" a Discriminatory Response?

In Age Bias Case, Justices Discuss ‘O.K. Boomer’ and Eggless Cakes

"Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is 64, asked whether a supervisor’s use of the phrase “O.K., boomer” could be evidence of age discrimination."

New York Times Article, January 15, 2020 (Article Link (Paywall))

Click here for the transcript.

The answer? Perhaps:

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Well, what if he just calls him a "boomer." I mean that -- I'm just trying to --

MR. MARTINEZ: I think that -- I -- I -- it -- it seems to me like that would be a classic question for the fact finder. But if the fact finder were to conclude that that statement reflected, was one of the factors going into this decision, I think it absolutely would be covered.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

How to Spell Email or E-Mail

How do you spell email? Email or E-mail?


E-mail and email are both correct ways to spell the same word. The issue of the hyphen (or lack thereof) in e-mail is still far from being settled. Different style guides prefer one spelling over the other, so if you need to follow one make sure you use the spelling it prescribes.

Corroborating sources and links:


A few editorially conservative publications still prefer e-mail to email, but most of the English-speaking world has adopted the unhyphenated form. In a Google News search covering 2011 and the start of 2012, there are approximately six instances of email for every e-mail, a dramatic shift from a couple of years ago. And the unhyphenated form is even more common outside newswriting.


But the tide of history will be against the form, and email will doubtless be the only form most people will have ever seen a few years from now.

What does Google Trends tell us about email versus e-mail?,e-mail

When Inc., or Ltd., or LLC is Possessive

What is the proper way to write a full company name as a possessive?

From Margie Holds Court (

When the word “Inc.” is possessive, it does not take the second comma after it.
…It was Joe Doe Company, Inc.’s employee.
Concurring opinions can be found at the following:
Nowadays most writing manuals are suggesting that we get rid of the commas that set off "Inc." from the rest of the sentence. If the company so named, however, clearly prefers a comma between its name and the word "Inc.," you should use that comma, and you should set off "Inc." as a parenthetical element (commas before and after it) when it appears in the middle of running text (as in your sentence, above). To form the possessive of a company's name when Inc. is involved, simply add apostrophe + s to the Inc., but eliminate the second comma (if one is used): ABC Distributing Inc.'s new policy or ABC Distributing, Inc.'s new policy.Authority: The Gregg Reference Manual by William A. Sabin. 9th Edition. McGraw-Hill: New York. 2001. Used with the consent of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. p. 156.
Authority: New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage HarperCollins: New York. 1994. Cited with permission. p. 272.

Normally, if you use a comma to set off the Inc. from the rest of the company name, you'd put a comma before it and a comma after it. The second comma is dropped, however, just as you have done it above, when you turn the Inc. into a possessive. Most writing manuals nowadays are recommending that the commas that set off the Inc. simply be dropped. In that case, you would write the possessive in the same way—just without the comma.Authority: The Gregg Reference Manual by William A. Sabin. 9th Edition. McGraw-Hill: New York. 2001. Used with the consent of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. p. 34.

How to File Your State and Federal Taxes for Free in 2020

How to File Your State and Federal Taxes for Free in 2020

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.
Most Americans are eligible for free tax preparation services, but the truly free options can be hard to find. If you’re not careful, you could end up using a service that says it’s free but demands payment after you’ve spent time entering your information.

How do you file online for free?

If you make less than $69,000 a year, you can find free tax filing options at the IRS Free File webpage.
There are options from TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxSlayer and others.
Each site has its own eligibility requirements, so be sure to find one that will be free for you.
It can take a bit of effort to find the correct option to fit your situation. Try using the IRS lookup tool to find the right one. Most of the options provide tax prep for both federal and state returns.
Best for: People who make less than the income cap and want a convenient and easy way to file online.
If you make more than $69,000 a year and have regular wage income, you may be able to file for free on, a service offered by United Way.
MyFreeTaxes offers free federal and state tax prep to filers at all income levels, but it will not work if you need to file Schedule C (like income from driving for Uber), Schedule D (capital gains) or Schedule E forms. You can learn more about the different schedules and types of income here.
This site uses a version of H&R Block’s software. It is free for both federal and state returns.
Best for: People who don’t qualify for Free File but have income only from a standard job and perhaps a bank account, and want to file online.
If you’re in the military, you can use MilTax, a service provided by the Department of Defense that uses a version of H&R Block’s tax software. It is available for free to active-duty service members as well as those in the Guard or Reserves, as well as their families. There are no income or tax form restrictions.
You can also get free advice from a professional who understands tax issues specific to the military. The phone number is 800-342-9647, or you can live chat with them here.
Best for: People in the Military, Guard or Reserves and their families.

How can I get in-person tax help for free?

You can qualify for the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program if you:
  • Make less than around $56,000 a year, OR
  • Live with a disability, OR
  • Speak limited English
The program matches you with IRS-certified volunteers across the country who can help with free basic income tax preparation and electronic filing. You can use the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance locator tool or call 800-906-9887 to find someone to help you. Keep in mind that some locations may require an appointment.
Best for: People who are confused by the tax process and want someone to help walk them through the process.
If you’re in the military, you can get free in-person tax help on many U.S. military bases worldwide.’s base guide is a good place to start.
Best for: People in the military and their families who want advice from someone who knows the ins and outs of military tax filing.

Why is TurboTax charging me?

If you make less than $36,000 a year (or $69,000 if you’re in the military) and TurboTax is telling you it costs money to file, you are probably using the wrong version of TurboTax. Don’t worry, there is a way to access the truly free version.
As ProPublica reported last year, TurboTax purposefully hid its Free File product and directed taxpayers to a version where many had to pay, which is called the TurboTax Free Edition. If you clicked on this “FREE Guaranteed” option, you could input a lot of your information, only to be told toward the end of the process that you need to pay.
You can access TurboTax’s Free File version here. This version is offered through the Free File agreement.
TurboTax’s misleading advertising and website design directed users to more expensive versions of the software, even if they qualified to file for free. After our stories published, some people demanded and got refunds. Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, faces several investigations and lawsuits because of this. The company has denied wrongdoing.
Following ProPublica’s reporting, the IRS announced an update to its agreement with the tax-preparation companies. Among other things, the update bars the companies from hiding their Free File offerings from Google search results. It also makes it so each company has to name their Free File service the same way using the format: IRS Free File Program delivered by [COMPANY NAME].

What’s the difference between TurboTax’s “Free Guaranteed” and IRS Free File Delivered by TurboTax?

TurboTax Free Edition is not always free. It has only been free for tax returns that the company defines as “simple.” That means people with student loans and the unemployed had to pay to file. Look for Intuit’s “IRS Free File Program delivered by TurboTax.” This year, you are eligible if you:
  • Make less than $36,000 a year, OR
  • Make less than $69,000 a year and serve in the military

What is Free File, and who is the Free File Alliance?

The Free File Alliance is actually a group of tax companies that — contrary to the name — is in the business of charging people to help them file their taxes. They have spent a lot of money to make sure that the IRS does not develop its own free tax filing service that would compete with what they have to offer. As part of the new Free File Alliance deal, the IRS is now able to offer a competing service, but is not doing so this year.
The Free File Alliance companies have agreed to offer free tax filing for a certain percentage of the population based on your income. Head to the IRS website to see which option is the best for you. These are the companies in the alliance:
  • 1040NOW Corp.
  • FileYourTaxes
  • Free Tax Returns
  • H&R Block
  • Intuit
  • OnLine Taxes
  • TaxACT
  • TaxHawk
  • TaxSlayer
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