Home > IRS, Music > Country Great Turns Seventy-Eight

Country Great Turns Seventy-Eight

Although country music isn’t for me, I understand it is for a lot of others.  Either way, you gotta love American country singer-songwriter Willie Nelson.  Today marks his seventy-eighth birthday.  Happy birthday Willie!

Like many American entertainers, Willie has experienced his fair share of both ups and downs over the years.  Also like many American entertainers, Willie at one point naively placed far too much trust in others with his financial affairs.

In the 1980s, Willie made some investments in a tax shelter, following the recommendation of his accountants.  The IRS later disallowed the tax implications of the tax shelter, generating back taxes owed to the IRS.  After it was also discovered his accountants failed to pay his original taxes over multiple years, Willie Nelson was stuck with a tax bill in excess of $16 million.  Unfortunately, Willie was a free spender, and didn’t have the funds to immediately pay up.

On November 9, 1990, the IRS seized Willie’s assets in order to collect on the debt.  Willie was deeply in the red at the time; his Texas ranch was auctioned by the IRS in January 1991.

In order to address his remaining outstanding IRS debt, Willie turned to what made him famous across America: songwriting.  In June 1991, Willie released a compilation album entitled The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?, under a strict revenue-sharing agreement with the IRS.  In 1993, Willie was finally square with his obligations to Uncle Sam.

As you can see, the IRS is open to unconventional methods of payment for back taxes.  It’s all a matter of acting in good faith to address an outstanding balance.

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