The Internal Revenue Service on Sept. 9 filed a lien against a home Barry owns on Orange Street SE, claiming unpaid 2010 income taxes of $3,267.29.
The Washington Times first reported on the lien Wednesday evening. It is but the latest in a more than decadelong string of tax issues for the former four-term mayor, now D.C. Council member for Ward 8.
Barry is currently repaying the federal and District governments for unpaid income taxes dating back to 1999. He originally pleaded guilty to a federal judge in 2005 to not filing federal or D.C. returns for the six years after he left the mayor’s office; he received three years of probation.
In 2006, prosecutors returned to court after Barry failed to file his 2005 return. The judge, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson, declined prosecutors’ request to jail Barry.
In 2009, Barry was ordered back to court after he failed to file his 2007 return. Again, Robinson declined prosecutors’ request to jail Barry, instead extending his probation. At that time, Barry owed $195,000, plus penalties and interest, to the feds and $51,000 to the District. The federal government started garnishing his council paycheck, and he continued a voluntary payment plan with the city.
All told, it appears Barry has failed to file a return or pay his income tax in full for nine of the past 12 tax years.
Court records indicate the latest tax issue has not been brought to Robinson’s attention. Nor, apparently, to Barry’s.
“I don’t know anything about that,” he said when reached Wednesday evening. He said he was up to date on his tax obligations. His attorney, Frederick D. Cooke Jr., did not immediately return a call for comment.
Barry does not live in the Orange Street home; his estranged wife, Cora Masters Barry, does. [UPDATE, 12/15, 1:15 P.M.: Neither Barry nor estranged wife Cora Masters Barry live in the Orange Street home. Cora Barry lives in another house the couple jointly owns, on Raleigh Street SE.]
Barry sits on the council’s finance and revenue committee, which handles matters of tax policy. He voted against a recent city income tax increase.
UPDATE, 12/15, 10:15 a.m.: Barry issued a statement Thursday morning:
Thousands of Americans have serious federal tax challenges; I, too, have them and everybody knows that. In 2006 I pled guilty to a misdemeanor for failing to file several years of taxes. With penalties and interest, this debt is many thousands of dollars. Since I did not have the ability to pay the entire amount I owed to IRS at once, I entered into an orderly process to establish a payment plan which is permitted by law. The repayment plan is on schedule and working. The only thing new is this latest lien and it too, shall be taken care of.
I have had good cooperation between my representatives and the IRS. A continuing problem, however, in resolving this matter has been poor communication between my representatives and the different IRS divisions regarding my efforts to repay the taxes that are owed; the various IRS divisions do not seem to know what the other divisions have agreed to and accepted regarding the resolution of this matter.
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.
These various tax challenges have not interfered with me working as hard as I can and getting results for the 73,000 citizens of Ward 8 and the City in general..
I will have no further comments regarding this issue.