H&R Block to Trump: We want to simplify taxes, too

Untangling complex tax laws: William Cobb

This may sound strange coming from a company that specializes in navigating the complexity of taxes to make money from filing millions of returns. But H&R Block CEO Bill Cobb said Tuesday he supports discussions to make the 74,000-page tax code much less onerous.

"There are ways to simplify the tax code. For example, there are five definitions of a child. Some of this is silly," Cobb told "Squawk Box" on CNBC. "[But] I think it's silly to talk about just ripping up a 74,000-page [code]. It's too complex today to go to zero [pages]."

Over the summer, GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump said he wanted to "put H&R Block out of business" by streamlining the tax system with a revenue neutral set of proposals.

But Cobb said before the tax rules can be changed, "the government needs to figure out how they are going administer social programs." He explained tax credits for everything from Obamacare to the earned income tax credit go through the tax code. "It's not about rates. It's all about the refundable credits that really add to the complexity."

The bottom line for most taxpayers, though, is how much money they are getting back from the government, Cobb said. "The refund is very important to most Americans. It is their bonus." The average tax refund in the U.S. is about $3,000, he said.

"We have two busy seasons," he continued. "Everybody thinks about April when many of us probably go in and have our taxes done. It is really the season beginning around the 20th of January through about now where people are running in to get their refund as quickly as possible."

Cobb was in New York City on Tuesday to ring the opening bell on Wall Street and draw attention to a new service from the company called Block Advisors, which offers guidance on more complex returns and small business tax preparation as well as financial planning.