Barry’s Debt to IRS Exceeds $277,000, Prosecutors Say

Del Quentin Wilber and Hamil R. Harris, Washington Post, March 27, 2009

D.C. Council member Marion Barry owes the federal government more than $277,000 in back taxes, interest and penalties and has failed in six recent months to make scheduled payments on taxes owed the D.C. government, according to federal authorities.

Federal authorities have said that Barry (D-Ward 8) failed to pay the bulk of his taxes on more than $500,000 earned from 1999 through 2004. But they had not disclosed the amount until a court filing yesterday.

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U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson has scheduled a hearing for April 2 on whether to revoke Barry’s probation for tax offenses because he did not file his federal or D.C. returns for 2007 in a timely manner.

Barry condemned prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service for releasing his private tax information, saying the disclosure violated the law. “The approach that they are using goes against prosecutorial conduct,” he said in a statement.

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Barry, 72, who is recuperating at home after a kidney transplant, is on three years’ probation for tax violations. Barry has said his illnesses distracted him from filing his taxes on time for 2007. He filed his federal return Feb. 17, a week after federal prosecutors moved to have his probation revoked.

According to an affidavit filed yesterday by an IRS special agent, Barry owes $277,688.05 to the U.S. Treasury in back taxes, interest and penalties. The IRS agent did not break down the total any further. But the agent said Barry’s 2007 return indicates that he owes the federal government $6,512 in taxes for that year. The IRS is taking $1,350 every two weeks from Barry’s paycheck, the agent wrote.

Barry did not make a payment on his back taxes to the District from July until shortly after prosecutors sought to revoke his probation last month, according to the court filing.

Barry filed his D.C. tax return for 2007 on Feb. 13 and owes unspecified District taxes for that year, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Zeno wrote in the filing. Barry has “continually flouted the standards applicable to all persons who reside in the District of Columbia, who work for a living, and who pay a portion of their income to support his salary,” Zeno wrote.

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