- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 15, 2011

D.C. Council member Marion Barry says poor communication between “my representatives and the different IRS divisions” is to blame for a tax lien the federal government recently filed against one of his properties, adding to his well-documented tax woes.

Mr. Barry, Ward 8 Democrat and former four-term D.C. mayor, said he has cooperated with the IRS since pleading guilty about five years ago to failing to pay several years’ taxes, yet “the various IRS divisions do not seem to know what the other divisions have agreed to and accepted regarding the resolution of this matter.”

The Washington Times reported on Wednesday that the IRS had filed a tax lien for more than $3,200 in unpaid federal income taxes for 2010.

The filing comes less than two years after federal tax collectors filed a separate lien notice against Mr. Barry, citing more than $15,000 in unpaid taxes from 2005 to 2008. The new lien also is unrelated to a misdemeanor tax case that involved unpaid taxes on more than $500,000 in income from 1999 to 2004.

“Thousands of Americans have serious federal tax challenges,” said Mr. Barry, 75. “I, too, have them, and everybody knows that. … It does no good for the media to sensationalize this situation and beat me up, as I have been using the processes established by the IRS to resolve this matter.”

Earlier this month, Mr. Barry spoke out against placing property liens on residents of the District and surrounding states as part of the council’s effort to collect money owed to the city for unpaid parking tickets and moving violations. In comments from the dais, he said aggressive actions to collect such payments have an adverse effect on poor residents of the city and their credit ratings.

Mr. Barry’s ongoing tax issues do little to improve the image of the 13-member council, which is trying move beyond a series of ethical lapses by enacting comprehensive ethics legislation. The bill by council member Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 Democrat, is expected to pass in a final vote Tuesday.

Council member David A. Catania, at-large independent, remarked in September — ahead of debate on a new tax bracket for the city’s wealthiest residents — that he “wouldn’t mind raising taxes if the people on this body paid them or paid them on time.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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