"This Is How We Do It" singer Montell Jordan insists he's no deadbeat taxpayer -- telling TMZ, he's already paid his $617,000 tax bill ... the money just hasn't made its way into the pockets of the IRS ... yet.
TMZ broke the story -- the IRS filed a Federal Tax Lien against Jordan recently, claiming the singer still owes $617,987.06 in back taxes from 1999-2001.
But it's not so cut and dry -- Montell tells us, he paid the debt years ago by selling his music catalog ... but the money's been sitting frozen in an account administered by the U.S. Trustee Program, a division of the Department of Justice that oversees bankruptcy cases.
Montell filed for bankruptcy in 2004 -- and says he's still disputing some of the IRS penalties he's incurred. He expects the money to be released to the IRS in a few weeks when he settles negotiations over the penalties ... at which point the case will be closed.