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IRS faces off Jagr over $3.3 million

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

By Mark Belko, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The Internal Revenue Service is seeking to collect nearly $3.3 million in unpaid federal income taxes from former Penguins star Jaromir Jagr.

The IRS filed a federal tax lien against Jagr on Friday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. The lien states that he owes $3,270,209 in income tax for the 2001 calendar year. The total amount may include penalties and interest.

Jagr made more than $10 million, including bonuses, from the Penguins in his last year with the team. He started 2001 with the Penguins, but was traded to the Washington Capitals that July for three prospects and cash. Later that year, Jagr signed a new seven-year, $78 million contract with the Capitals.

The lien allows the IRS to take steps, if necessary, to collect the unpaid balance. Those steps could include attaching salaries, bank or retirement accounts or seizing assets like houses, cars, boats or other property.

A tax lien typically is filed after the IRS sends a notice to the taxpayer demanding payment of the balance owed. If the amount is not paid within 10 days, a lien is filed.

Friday's tax lien was the second filed against Jagr by the IRS in the last seven months. In August, the IRS filed a claim for $350,000 in unpaid income taxes and penalty and interest for the 1999 tax year. That lien was satisfied when the balance was paid.

It is not known whether Jagr has had discussions with the IRS about the latest amount owed or whether he is disputing the IRS claim.

A spokeswoman for IMG, Jagr's sports marketing management team, described the filing of the latest lien as a "fairly routine procedure."

"Jaromir and his financial advisers are aware of the situation and he has been assured that the proper steps are being taken by his financial team to resolve this matter," Linda Dozoretz said.

Jagr has 30 days after receiving notice of the lien's filing to request a hearing with the IRS Office of Appeals to contest the action.

According to the county's real estate Web site, Jagr still owes a house valued at $338,400 in Upper St. Clair. The federal tax lien lists an address for Jagr in Severna Park, Md.

Mark Belko can be reached at mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.

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