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The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories?


True Story: The Country and Western singer, Willie Nelson, had well publicised tax troubles that started in 1984, when the IRS began looking into his returns stretching back to 1972.

He sued his accountants PriceWaterhouse, contending that they put him into structured tax avoidance schemes that were later disallowed. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount, and his debts were paid by 1993.

The IRS were unwilling to await the outcome of the litigation and had pursued Willie to pay an agreed liability of $6 million in back taxes, plus more than $10 million in penalties and interest.

The IRS seized most of his assets to help pay the charges. Willie then released The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories? as a double album, with all profits going straight to the IRS.
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Are you a prostitute or are you an auditor?

1. You work very odd hours.

2. You are paid a lot of money to keep your client happy.

3. You are paid well but your pimp gets most of the money.

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The comedian Ken Dodd, was prosecuted for tax evasion in 1989 as has been mentioned on this blog before, here and here. I'd love to find a clip of him talking about it in his act. For now though here are a couple of references to comments he makes about the experience.

He is known to introduce himself as a “failed accountant”. That, he explains, is simply to establish a rapport with the audience. “People today are all stressed out about home economics, and accountants are the current bogeymen. [Since when?]

Dodd is the butt of a lot of his material and repeated references are made to his love of money, his dislike of what he insists on calling the Inland Revenue and his past run-in with them. “They sent me a self-assessment form the other day. To me! I invented self-assessment.”

During the trial it was revealed that Dodd had very little money in his bank account. He did however have £336,000 in cash stashed in suitcases in his attic. When asked by the judge, "What does a…