City council member and former Washington mayor Marion Barry is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington for failing to pay taxes, according to published reports.

Barry, whose last term as mayor ended in January 1999, was elected to a council seat in southeast Washington last November and took office 10 months ago. Reports have said that authorities are already in plea negotiations with Barry to resolve his failing to file federal income tax returns and pay his taxes dating back to 1998.

Failing to file federal tax returns is a misdemeanor offense, while filing fraudulent returns or engaging in a pattern of concealing income is a felony. The ongoing negotiations would reportedly have Barry agreeing to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge, and any deal would have to be approved in U.S. District Court.

Before his latest term in office, Barry did consulting work but did not hold a steady job with a regular income. He has declined to comment.

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