The Internal Revenue Service has hit the publisher of the Afro-American newspaper with a tax lien of more than $245,000, contending that John J. Oliver Jr. is liable for back withholding taxes and Social Security tax deducted from workers' paychecks but not passed on to the government.
The IRS filed the lien in Baltimore Circuit Court Aug. 16, following up on three liens it had filed against the paper's parent company in 1988 and 1989. Domenic J. LaPonzina, an IRS spokesman, said he couldn't discuss specific taxpayers, but added that the law allows the IRS to try to collect delinquent taxes from personalassets of corporate officials responsible for paying a company's tax bills.
Mr. Oliver didn't return any of several calls seeking comment.
The lien entitles the IRS to seize almost any property Mr. Oliver owns to satisfy the paper's back taxes, but it is not clear that the agency plans any moves that would affect the paper's operation. Mr. LaPonzina said similar liens have been in effect against the company since 1989, but the paper has continued to publish.