President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Kansas City-based H&R Block “probably won’t be too happy” with his upcoming tax reform proposal.
Trump has said the tax code is too complex and that he will make it simpler. His suggestion was that tax preparer H&R Block might see less business in that case.
“We’re going to simplify very greatly the tax code. It’s too complicated. H&R Block probably won’t be too happy. That’s one business that might not be happy with what we’re doing,” Trump said, according to a report by CNN Money. “Other than H&R Block, I think people are going to love it.”
Trump did not mention TurboTax maker Intuit, the legion of independent tax preparers or others involved in the tax preparation industry.
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The comment came during a White House breakfast meeting Trump held with retail executives. He told them the tax proposals would help stimulate the economy.
Trump has made other references to Block in the name of tax reform.
In 2015, during the presidential campaign, he said that he wanted to put H&R Block out of business by changing the tax code.
“I want to put H&R Block out of business. I want to put ’em out of business. A person with a simple tax return can’t figure it out. They have (to) go out and pay a lot of money to these companies that go out and do your tax return for you. I want to put H&R Block out of business,” he said, according to a report by Forbes.
Asked about Wednesday’s comments regarding Block, a company spokeswoman referred to a December online post by CEO Bill Cobb.
In it, Cobb agreed with Trump that the tax code was too complex and listed his suggested reforms. He did not mention the then-president-elect’s previous comments about putting Block out of business.
Cobb offered some specifics of problems in the tax code, including that there were five definitions of a child.
He cited the same example and called it silly a year ago, according to a CNBC report. Cobb also had declared in that report that ripping up the 74,000 page tax code and starting from zero pages would be equally silly.
Shares of H&R Block fell quickly after Trump’s comments became known, temporarily losing 44 cents at their low. Shares recovered much of the slide and were down 17 cents at the end of the trading day.