After getting a letter from the Ogden Service Center of the IRS, saying she had been sent a notice that she owed $300 million in taxes, Marilyn Cone was very relieved to find out it was all a mistake.

"You gasp, and then you laugh," said Cone, a 71-year-old retired school psychologist from Portland.Cone received a March 10 letter from the Ogden center that said: "We recently sent you a notice which indicated that you owe in excess of $300,000,000. That amount was incorrect and I apologize for our mistake."

Actually, Cone said it was the first she had heard of the whopping bill.

Shawn George, an IRS spokeswoman, said the Ogden Service Center in Utah mailed out 6,000 erroneous notices telling taxpayers they owed $300 million.

Cone was more amused than distressed over the bill. It wasn't the first time for her. She remembered how once as a young single mother, she received an IRS letter saying she owed $300.

In shock, she rushed to the IRS office "sobbing my heart out," she said. An agent recalculated her taxes: She owed only $3.09.

"Ever since then, I've always had a positive attitude about the IRS," she said. "They are human, after all."