SAN DIEGO -- Robert G. Allen, author of the best-selling book "Nothing Down," which is about how to become wealthy buying real estate with no cash down, and of two other books that chart courses to financial success, has been charged more than $412,000 in back taxes and penalties by the Internal Revenue Service, according to two tax liens on file in San Diego County.

The first IRS lien of $346,395 was filed in August 1986 against Allen and his wife, Daryl, claiming that the Allens paid insufficient tax on their Form 1040 income for 1984, spokeswoman Sarah Wrefort of the IRS' district office said this week.

The second lien for $66,353, filed in May 1987, claimed that a corporation of which Allen was a principal failed to make adequate Social Security and withholding tax payments for the tax quarter that ended June 30, 1986. The lien amount includes a 100 percent IRS penalty.

"Nothing Down" has sold 1 million hardback and softback copies since its 1980 publication and is the largest selling real estate investment book ever, according to Allen's publisher, Simon & Schuster. The book purports to instruct readers how they can become wealthy by buying investment real estate property with no cash down.

A spokeswoman for the publisher said that Allen's other books, "Creating Wealth," published in 1983, and "The Challenge," published in 1986, have "done very well."

In an interview, Allen, 39, admitted having financial difficulties but said he had no plans to file for protection under federal bankruptcy code. Allen said that he has paid part of what he owes to the IRS, though he would declined to specify the amount. "The liens will be paid off in the very near future," he said.

The IRS liens, which constitute a claim on all of Allen's recorded assets, also have been filed in Provo, Utah, Allen's former residence. The claims are not lifted until the back taxes and penalties are paid in full, Wrefort said. The IRS does not disclose partial payments of the back taxes without the debtor's consent, she said.

Allen conducts seminars for as much as $1,495 per person that focus on the financial success tools discussed in "The Challenge."

In the book, Allen claims that he picked three people off unemployment lines in St. Louis and taught them enough in two days that they were able to put $5,000 cash in their pockets within 90 days