Big tax reform 'unlikely' anytime soon, will probably see tax cuts, Carlyle's Rubenstein says

David Rubenstein: Investors are willing to accept slightly lower returns

It is "unlikely" that there will be a comprehensive tax reform bill anytime soon, Carlyle Group co-founder and co-CEO David Rubenstein told CNBC on Monday.

Instead, he anticipates tax cuts.

"We have these every 30 or 40 years. The last comprehensive bill was 1986. It's not easy to get done," he said in an interview with "Closing Bell" on the sidelines of the Milken Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California.

The White House unveiled an outline of President Donald Trump's tax reform plan last week. Among other things, it would reduce the number of income tax brackets and slash the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent. It would also eliminate all deductions except mortgage interest and charitable giving.

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin reiterated the proposal to get rid of those loopholes.

However, Rubenstein thinks the likelihood of no longer allowing an interest-rate deduction is "relatively remote" because it would "affect so many different businesses around the country."

What it comes down to is what is more important to Trump, reducing taxes or a larger reform package, and the cuts are probably the higher priority, he said.

He also thinks repatriation of corporate cash from overseas will be part of those tax cuts.