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Country music star Willie Nelson's net worth at 91 will leave you shocked

His career spans seven decades

Hannah Hargrave
US Deputy Editor
June 5, 2024
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Willie Nelson has been making music for more than 70 years and is one of country music's most successful artists. 

In addition to creating hundreds of hits, he's also an actor, poet, guitarist and activist. 

But despite his impressive resume, Willie's net worth is surprisingly humble… for a world-renowned musical legend

While Dolly Parton has amassed a fortune of $650 million, and today the likes of Keith Urban is worth a cool $75 million, Willie is just a fraction of both, here's why. 

His net worth

According to, Willie has a net worth of $25 million which is nothing to be sniffed at. 

He became a legend of country music with his distinctive voice and unique song-writing, producing hits such as "Always on My Mind," "On the Road Again," and, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain."

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA - MAY 15: Willie Nelson performs in concert at Pinewood Performing Arts on May 15, 2024 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images for Shock Inc)© Gary Miller
Willie lost everything

His contributions to music have earned him many awards including several Grammys, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2023.

In addition, Willie has starred in more than 30 movies and co-authored a plethora of books.

Financial woes

Musician Willie Nelson attends 27th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 29, 1992 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)© Ron Galella, Ltd.
Willie was stung by the IRS

It's not been plain sailing for Willie over the years though and after making a substantial amount of money, he found himself in serious financial difficulty in the 1990s. 

The IRS served him with a tax bill of epic proportions, claiming he owed them $16.7 million in unpaid back taxes.

Willie Nelson and wife Annie D'Angelo© Getty Images
Willie with his wife Annie D'Angelo

 It remains one of the most high-profile tax cases in music history.

Willie also heavily invested in ventures in the 80s but faced significant loss due to mismanagement and economic downturns, so he couldn't use those funds to pay off the debt.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 06:  Trevor Nelson, Paula Nelson, Jacob Micah Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Amy Nelson, Willie Nelson, Annie D'Angelo, Raelyn Nelson, Rachel Fowler, Dean Hubbard, Martha Fowler, and Lana Nelson attend Hard Rock International's Wille Nelson Artist Spotlight Benefit Concert at Hard Rock Cafe, Times Square on June 6, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images)© Mike Pont
Willie has a huge family

How his fans saved him

In order to avoid prison time, Willie handed over nearly all of his possessions and property to the government who would then auction them off. 

But friends and supporters purchased his belongings - and his home - and gave them back to him. 

LUCK, TX - MARCH 13: Willie Nelson (L) and Micah Nelson perform in concert during The Luck Banquet on March 13, 2019 in Luck, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)© Gary Miller
Willie performing with his son Micah

Willie released an album poking fun at his money woes called "The IRS Tapes: Who Will Buy My Memories?" and the profits helped him to get back on his feet. 

The album was released under a strict revenue-sharing agreement with the IRS. By 1993, he had settled his debt. 

In 2006, joked about his IRS issues in a hilarious commercial for H&R Block which aired during the Super Bowl.

Being broke

Willie Nelson in 1970© Getty Images
Willie once said he's been broke before and he'll be broke again

Despite his legendary tax troubles, Willie isn't concerned about his money. Years after the debacle, he said: "There are more serious problems in life than financial ones, and I've had a lot of those. I've been broke before, and will be again."

Let's hope not!

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