Word from the Lone Star state is that a Dallas tax lawyer is the front-running candidate to become the IRS commissioner next month. The Dallas Morning News has named Lawrence Gibbs, who served in several IRS posts during the Nixon and Ford administrations, and was assistant commissioner from 1973 to 1975.

Commissioner Roscoe Egger has announced his resignation effective at the end of April.

Although a final decision on Egger's successor has not been made, one White House official told the Dallas paper that he would be "very surprised" if Gibbs, 47, did not get the position. And White House and congressional officials said background checks and confirmations on the Dallas lawyer's appointment are in "the final stages."

Gibbs said all the right rumored-candidate things: "I understand that I am under consideration for the appointment, and I'm flattered. That's all I could say at this time."

Other congressional officials, however, said that another Texan -- Kenneth W. Gideon, a Houstonian and partner in the Washington office of the Houston firm Fulbright & Jaworski -- is still in the running for the job.

*The Girl Next Door . . . Imelda Marcos, whose penchant for multimillion-dollar estates has been in the news for several weeks, almost picked up a property in Washington three years ago, according to a prominent broker contacted by her agents.

The broker, who asked to remain anonymous, said she received calls in 1983 from Joseph and Ralph Bernstein, the New York real estate team recently revealed in documents to have represented the Marcoses in Manhattan ventures.

"It was those New York boys," the broker said. "They wanted something grand, very fast. About a couple of million. Someone slipped at one point and let it out of the bag that it was for her," then Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos.

The broker said she had begun to line up a "glamorous" residence in northwest Washington, but the sellers moved too slowly and the deal fell through. "I couldn't get the sellers to act fast enough, and it all hit the fan," the broker said.

From documents revealed in past weeks, the fomer first lady appears to have had little trouble finding investment opportunities elsewhere.

*Balancing Act . . . Congressional sources say that the heavy handicapping over who will be the next No. 2 at the Department of Agriculture will soon come to an end -- with the naming of Peter C. Myers.

They say that Myers, who has been assistant secretary for natural resources and environment at USDA since May (and who has served in the department since 1982), will fill the shoes of John R. Norton III, who left the job last month -- with a friendly push, it is often said, from Republican farm state legislators. Because the new secretary, Richard E. Lyng, is from California, geographical balance (i.e., a midwestern background) seemed an important qualification.

As a native of Racine, Wis., and the owner of a farm in Missouri, Myers fits the bill nicely.

George Dunlop, chief of staff for the Senate Agriculture Committee, was a finalist for the job but will be appointed to take over Myers' current position, sources said.

Myers, 55, declined to confirm or deny reports of his promotion but sounded sanguine. "All I can say is it looks good," he said. "You'll have to wait for the White House to make the official announcement one way or another."

Also at USDA: Kathleen Lawrence, deputy undersecretary for small community and rural development, is under consideration to replace her boss, Frank Naylor, when he leaves to become top dog at the Farm Credit Administration. She was on the White House staff during the Nixon years, then ran a private consulting firm in Virginia. With Reagan's election, she joined USDA as deputy director of the Office of Rural Policy Development -- an office that has since been "zeroed out." She became Naylor's deputy in May 1984.

*Under the Knife . . . A federal health official phoned the Department of Health and Human Service's main library to ask for the March 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine -- perhaps the preeminent publication in its field. "They said that because of Gramm-Rudman we no longer have that journal," he reports. "Can you imagine? The top federal health agency!"

John Boyle, HHS librarian, said, "I don't know whether it can be ascribed to Gramm-Rudman, but the department is holding orders. The subscription has expired and is awaiting renewal. We are waiting for money to be approved."