Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Virtual Law Documentary Festival

This weekend would have marked the 23rd Annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, a world-renowned celebration of nonfiction filmmaking. Although this year's festival was canceled due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the festival website continues to provide information about the selected 2020 feature-length and short films that would have been a part of this year's festival. Festival organizers have also shared a list of past Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant Award winners (a prize that brings first-time documentary filmmakers to the festival) with information about where their films can now be streamed.

Current members of the Duke University community have access to a number of resources for streaming documentary films, beyond your own consumer subscriptions to platforms like Netflix and Hulu. If you'd like to host your own documentary film festival this weekend, here are some options available with a NetID, featuring some favorite titles from the Goodson Law Library's DVD collection:

Next year's Full Frame festival has been scheduled for April 8-11, 2021, but you can enjoy many documentaries online in the meantime using the resources above. For help with accessing Duke databases, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Tax in the Time of Coronavirus

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced a 90-day extension of federal income tax payments for 2019, due to the global coronavirus pandemic (story at CNN). Despite the extension of time to pay federal taxes owed, Mnuchin recommended that taxpayers still attempt to complete and file their 2019 returns by the normal April 15 deadline. [UPDATE 3/20: The deadline to file has now been extended to July 15 as well, per an updated announcement by Secretary Mnuchin.] (The extension also does not apply to states, which must set their own deadline extensions for tax filing; California has already changed its payment and filing deadline to June 15.)

Taxpayers whose income was at or below $69,000 in 2019 may qualify for the IRS Free File service, which offers online tax preparation assistance and free e-filing for federal taxes. The Free File Online Lookup Tool helps taxpayers identify available free online filing offers that are appropriate for their tax situation.

If you do not qualify for Free File, the IRS also outlines additional e-File Options, including free fillable online forms for federal taxes. Should your taxes prove too complicated to go it alone, the IRS also has tips for Choosing a Tax Professional.

For more resources on federal tax law, including access to research databases like Thomson Reuters Checkpoint, visit the Goodson Law Library's research guide to Federal Tax or Ask a Librarian.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Resources for Social Distancing

The global response to the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been swift and drastic, with most universities and other public spaces closing temporarily in an effort to "flatten the curve" of new infections. For information on Duke University's response, check https://coronavirus.duke.edu/; the Law School information page can be found at https://law.duke.edu/about/coronavirus-response.

Experts agree that "social distancing," which encourages people to self-isolate as much as possible at home, is key to preventing further transmission. While schools transition to online learning and many workers shift to remote employment, that leaves the question of how to spend free time in an age when most restaurants and non-essential services are shuttered for the foreseeable future. Here are some resources to brighten your time at home.
Additional online resources can be found on our website, including access to the Duke Libraries Catalog and Research Databases A-Z.