Watch: Former IRS commissioner singles out the important gaps in Trump's tax forms
Donald Trump (Photo by Nocholas Kamm for AFP)

Appearing on CNN just moments after House Democrats released Donald Trump's tax returns after years of legal wrangling, a former IRS commissioner cautioned viewers that the six years being published don't paint a complete portrait of the former president's finances and tax liabilities.

Speaking with CNN host Jessica Dean, former IRS official Mark Everson expressed dismay at how the release of the documents came about before pointing out that Trump had years of business failures prior to the years 2015-2020 that are now becoming public.

As CNN reported upon the release, "The returns, long shrouded in secrecy, were released to the public on Friday by the House Ways and Means Committee, the culmination of a battle over their disclosure that went to the Supreme Court. They confirm a report issued from the Joint Committee on Taxation that Trump claimed large losses before and throughout his presidency that he carried forward to reduce or practically eliminate his tax burden. For example, his returns show that he carried forward a $105 million loss in 2015 and $73 million in 2016."

As Everson pointed out, there is a degree of complexity to what came before that leaves gaps in how to interpret the latest returns.

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"Can you, as the former IRS commissioner, explain, kind of in layman's terms how someone can claim so many losses and deductions and how it can swing from $0 to $1.1 million a year and if that's normal?" host Dean prompted.

"Sure, look, there are no surprises here," Everson replied. "Everybody has known about Donald Trump, that he had some big wins and some big misses as well with casinos and other things."

"The New York Times did stories about big losses," he elaborated. "It doesn't mean something is untoward here. What happened is the Congress is looking at it, the IRS should have been looking at it, they've had Trump's businesses under audit for years -- you have ups and downs and it's really quite complex."

"I would caution your viewers not to expect to have definitive answers based on six years of returns," he warned. "A lot of it goes back to things that Trump did years ago with the losses with the casinos."

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