Willie Nelson left the IRS stunned in disbelief when this stunt worked to perfection

Jun 18, 2024

Country music Willie Nelson ran into major IRS problems during his career.

But he managed to find a way to avoid the worst.

And Willie Nelson left the IRS stunned in disbelief when this stunt worked to perfection.

Willie Nelson got into a big hole with back taxes he owed the IRS 

Country music legend Willie Nelson nearly lost everything he had to the IRS.

The IRS seized his home, his master recordings, musical equipment, and even his clothes in August 1990.

He was hit with a bill for more than $16 million in back taxes.

Willie detailed his fight with the IRS in his 2015 memoir, It’s a Long Story: My Life.

The possibility of declaring bankruptcy never crossed his mind.

His manager, attorneys, and a tax consultant came up with a plan to get him out of his jam with the IRS.

“I’m not saying I wasn’t in a serious financial stew,” Nelson wrote. “I sure as s*** was. But I had my health and my fighting spirit.”

Wille traveled to the IRS office in Austin, Texas to meet with them about his situation.

He went there thinking he would meet with a slick big city lawyer but it turned out to be a “good ole boy” from his area of Texas.

Willie came up with a plan to create a commotion in front of the IRS building by parking his tour bus there.

“When it came time to question me — a two-day ordeal scheduled at the IRS offices in Austin — I got an idea,” Nelson explained. “By then I had Honeysuckle Rose II, the second incarnation of my custom bus with a Western scene painted on the exterior.”

He would sign autographs for fans and show them around the bus after the word got out that he was there.

Willie Nelson gets one over on the IRS 

Willie played it cool in his meeting with the IRS by only answering the bare minimum.

“Their strategy didn’t work. Mine did,” Nelson said.

A crowd gathered outside by his tour bus when lunchtime came around.

“My strategy was to position my bus so that by lunchtime all of downtown Austin knew where it was parked,” Nelson recalled. “By the time we took our twelve-thirty break, there was a huge crowd of fans lined up outside Honeysuckle Rose II.”

Willie signed autographs and showed off his tour bus to fans for three hours.

“One by one I let them on the bus, signed whatever they wanted me to sign, and let them take as many pictures as they liked,” Nelson stated. “That took nearly three hours. When we got back up to the IRS offices, I apologized for the delay.”

The next day the Austin police had to come to do crowd control while he signed autographs. 

And IRS employees came out for his meet and greet.

The attorney who questioned him was impressed with his strategy.

“You sure you secretly never went to one of those fancy law schools back east, Willie?” the IRS attorney asked.

Willie released the double album, The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories? to help settle his debts, which were eventually squared away.

*Read All About It Poll*

Latest Posts: