THE TAX ATTIC with Jerry Coon

Brain freezes and monopolies

Jerry Coon

I had to feel sorry for Rick Perry at that recent Republican debate. He had a “brain-freeze moment” in not being able to remember the name of that third federal government department, Energy, he was going to eliminate as soon as he is elected. There are only a few hundred departments that are worthy of being eliminated, so I’m willing to cut him some slack. I’m also thinking the people who gave him the most grief have never been hunting and encountered what is called “buck fever.”

When a big 12-point buck walks through your field of vision, for a few seconds most of us would be hard-pressed to remember our own name. You operate on mechanics and doing things that you have done over and over. Line up the buck in the scope, take off the safety, double check the field of fire for safety purposes, take a breath, exhale and shoot.

As little thinking as possible goes into the transaction because, like Mr. Perry found out, your brain can freeze at the most inopportune time.

For instance, I once heard of a guy not getting the safety off in time to shoot because he couldn’t remember where the darned safety was located. I can see that happening. I personally use three different guns—depending upon when and where I am hunting—that place the safety in three different locations. To remember where the safety is, the shooter first has to remember which gun he is using at the same time he is seeing the biggest buck he has ever seen in his life right in front of him. That’s almost too much thinking under the pressure of staring at that 12-point buck. The harder you try to remember what you can’t remember, the harder it freezes.

Brain freeze also seems to happen to coaches, managers, referees and umpires in sports. They are trying to make judgment calls at the exact time that their brain is freezing. The bigger the game, the more important the call, the more potential there is for a brain freeze. How else can you explain some of the blatantly wrong calls that referees/umpires make during games? What other explanation can there possibly be for some of the coach/manager decisions that we see? It’s the Rick Perry brain freeze in action.

I, for one, am not going to eliminate Rick Perry as a presidential candidate for that reason. There are other positions I don’t like or agree with that may cause me to support another candidate, but not a brain freeze. Of course, I first have to remember what those other positions are and what other candidates are running for president.

A very interesting ruling by a federal judge was made public last week. He upheld a recent Justice Department injunction against H&R Block.

Block had proposed to buy 2SS Holdings, a software company that produces and markets TaxAct tax preparation software. 2SS Holdings, through TaxAct software, has become one of the largest providers of software and peripheral products to both tax professionals and taxpayers. It is a good product at a reasonable price and efficiently competes with Intuit’s Turbo Tax.

The Justice Department blocked the purchase because they thought combining the world’s largest tax preparation company and one of the world’s largest tax software providers could result in an industry monopoly for H&R Block.

Some recent surveys have indicated that a significant percentage of individual purchasers of tax preparation software, such as TaxAct and TurboTax, do not complete the tax preparation process. For whatever reason, they complete part of their return but come to a place where they are not comfortable with continuing and end up going to a tax professional to complete the process and file their return.

By owning TaxAct, Block could aggressively market to those purchasers. In essence, they would have first chance at getting those who stopped the return preparation process to come into the nearest Block office.

I think that’s brilliant. Look at the jobs that could be potentially created at Block. The Justice Department must have thought it would create a lot of jobs, too or they would not be indicating that Block would have a monopoly.

I personally think we could use some job creation.

The thrust of the question that Rick Perry couldn’t finish was that our federal government is regulating us to death. This growth in regulatory power must be curtailed. Is this Justice Department ruling another example of a few unelected, appointed officials deciding that they know better than anyone else what is and what isn’t good for the commoners? Hmmm. I will admit that I probably don’t know all of the facts of this case, but I do know the pertinent ones, and I believe this is a darned good question to think about and discuss.

This is Jerry Coon signing off and wishing all of you a happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Jerry Coon is an Enrolled Agent. He owns Action Tax Service on Northland Drive.
Contact Jerry at www.actiontaxservice.com.

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