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Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The White House keeps talking about how its tax plan could simplify federal income tax returns to the point of being able to file via postcard. But Intuit, whose flagship TurboTax product was borne of tax code complexity, tells Axios that it isn't worried.

Argument: Dan Wernikoff, general manager of Intuit's consumer tax group, says the "postcard" promise would mostly apply to low-income filers who already can access a free TurboTax product. And while Wernikoff acknowledges that the tax plan could significantly expand that sort of group, he believes simplification will pull more people to online filing and away from "stores" like H&R Block.

Backup: Wernikoff's position is also supported by Credit Suisse analyst Michael Nemeroff, who recently wrote in a research note:

We do not believe that the proposed simplification of the tax code will negatively impact DIY tax software providers as the individuals who traditionally utilize those offerings likely will not notice a dramatic change in the complexity of their tax situation. Rather, we expect the assisted tax category to potentially suffer from the reduction in complexity that could result from the elimination of itemized tax deductions; individuals that had previously been served by professional accounts could instead move to DIY software solutions, like TurboTax, at a much lower cost.

Worth noting: Even if federal tax returns were simplified, that wouldn't necessarily change state filing requirements.

Taking credit: Wernikoff also showed Axios a new TurboTax add-on that lets users calculate their personal debt-to-income ratios, which it then can provide to lenders as an alternative (or addition) to credit scores. There has been a lot of discussion here at the Money 20/20 conference this week about such products (including from startups), both due to disgust with Equifax and a broader belief among lenders that they've relied too heavily on credit scores without taking other data points into account.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.

Scoop: Inside Jake Sullivan's call with U.S. hostages' families

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke last week with relatives of U.S. hostages and others wrongfully detained abroad, after more than two dozen families expressed frustrations about their inability to get a meeting with him or President Biden, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Participants on the video call, which began at 7pm ET Friday and lasted more than an hour, told Axios they didn't get satisfactory answers to many of their questions. Nonetheless, they were encouraged by Sullivan's commitment to follow up and pledge to be personally available to them and others going forward.

3 hours ago - World

Biden huddles with European allies on Ukraine ahead of Putin call

Putin in the Kremlin. Photo: Grigory Sysoyev/Sputnik via Getty

President Biden will seek to convince Russia's Vladimir Putin in a phone call Tuesday that the price of invading Ukraine would be steeper than anything he's faced in the past.

Driving the news: Biden held a call on Ukraine this evening with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., while Secretary of State Tony Blinken called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to offer America's "unwavering support."

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