The soul singer, who resides in Los Angeles, has been hit with a lien - an official claim against his property - for the payment of his debt which totals $1 130 609, according to TMZ.com.
The musician has racked up a huge number of hits over the years, including Hello, Dancing On The Ceiling and Easy Like Sunday Morning, and according to legal documents he is worth a reputed $200m.
Repossess his property
If Lionel - who recently released a duets album, Tuskegee, featuring new versions of his greatest hits - fails to pay the bill then the American government could repossess his property to clear the debt.
The 62-year-old star - the father of Nicole Richie - will next appear alongside Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Nettles and Robin Thicke as judges on new TV show Duets.
His representative is yet to comment on the claims.
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