Veteran performer Wayne Newton is fighting claims that he and his wife owe $1.8 million (GBP1 million) in taxes and penalties.

Officials at America's Inland Revenue Service (IRS) claim the DANKE SCHOEN singer and his wife, KATHERINE, clocked up the debts between 1997 and 2000 - but Newton believes otherwise.

His lawyer A LAVAR TAYLOR says, "We believe the IRS owes him money," adding that the singer was entitled to $2.2 million (GBP1.2 million) in unclaimed deductions over the same period.

A 13 April (05) notice of deficiency accused 63-year-old Newton and his wife of failing to report the sale of an Arabian horse, wrongfully claiming losses on antique car sales, failing to report income and taking improper deductions.

Newton filed a 32-page response on 6 July (05) in a Tax Court in Washington, DC. The government has until next month (SEP05) to file an answer.

Newton and his wife say in a statement that they relied on the advice of their accountants and tax lawyers, adding, "We have paid millions of dollars in taxes, so obviously it is not a matter of money but a matter of principle."

04/08/2005 10:52