Didn't Pay Taxes

List Number(s)
9 February 2006
Written by
Directed by

Didn't Pay Taxes

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Didn't Pay Taxes is the seventeenth episode of Season 1 of My Name Is Earl. Earl attempts to cross off another deed of his list, this time trying to repay the government after failing to pay his taxes in the past.

Episode guideEdit

You know the kind of guy who does nothing but bad things then wonders why his life sucks? Well, that was me. Every time something good happened to me something bad was always waiting around the corner. Karma. That's when I realized I had to change. So I made a list of everything bad I've ever done and, one by one, I'm going to make up for all my mistakes. I'm just trying to be a better person; my name is Earl.

Earl finds a check addressed to Randy from when they did some jobs whilst low on funds. This triggers a memory in Earl of never paying taxes to the government, which he then decides to add to the List. He took a check down to the government office, but when he tried to hand it in the woman behind the counter said that unless they sent him a form saying that he needed to bring in the money, they could not accept it. He tried to put the check in a suggestion box at the office, but they sent it back to him.


Earl is put in solitary confinement

Randy told Earl that he should just keep the money, because he had tried to do the right thing but it had not worked. Earl said that he needed to keep trying as he should have done the right thing in the first place. Randy, who was riding on a moped he had bought with the money from the check he was sent, fell off his bike when he hit a pot hole. Earl tried to fill it in as a way of repaying the government, but he was approached by Officer Bob Smiley who told him that only authorized government personnel could fill in potholes.

Earl then thought of another way to pay his debt back to the government. He found a site where prisoners were doing manual labor, and offered to help them. The guard agreed and Earl began to help dig trenches by the side of the road, where he saw Hank Lange who had recently been sent to prison. After working all day, the guard sent the prisoners back on the bus, but mistook Earl for one of them. Despite his pleads, Earl was taken on the prison bus and sent into solitary confinement after he "refused" to go to his cell.


Earl and Randy try to get noticed atop the water tower

Several days later the guards realized that Earl actually was not supposed to be there, and released him. Back at the Crab Shack, Earl told Randy, Joy and Darnell that he just wanted to pay the government back. Suddenly, he realized the best way to pay the government was to do something bad and have to pay a fine. He and Randy decided to climb to the top of a water tower, which would cost them $500 in fines. However, they were not noticed by anyone and fell through the roof of the tower. Luckily, they were suspended by ropes so were unharmed, but were stuck and unable to get out.

After three nights suspended in the tower, Earl and Randy began to suspect that they would never get out. However, just as Earl began to get mad that the government never helped him, a team of police and firemen arrived and saved Earl and Randy. They explained that after news of the El Camino being impounded was given to Joy, then passed on to Catalina, the police were informed that Earl and Randy had been missing for several days. The police went to the water tower, saw the ropes and called the fire brigade, who helped Earl and Randy out.

Earl was charged $500 for trespassing and breaking the water tower, and after paying the money he crossed #266 off his List.


  • When Earl is being lifted out of the water tower by the rescue workers he is holding the American Flag. This is impossible since the flag was on the floor, where they could not reach it, just like they could not reach the candy bars. However, it is possible that the rescue workers momentarily lowered him to pick it up.
  • Technically, Earl doesn't pay back the taxes as the $500 he gives the government is for a fine, not taxes.

Earl is saved by the police and firemen


  • Earl and Randy work at a construction site, and decide not to pay taxes.
  • Earl pays fines.
  • The story of how Earl and Randy were saved is shown through flashbacks
    • Joy receives notice that the El Camino was impounded, and gives it to Catalina.
    • Catalina tells a police officer that Earl and Randy are missing, who calls a city worker to the water tower, and some firemen to get the brothers out.
  • The water tower that Earl and Randy sit upon is located in Artesia, California.


  • Introduced and crossed off in this episode
    • - #266 Didn't pay taxes.
  • For some reason "Didn't pay taxes" was written twice on Earl's list.

Featured musicEdit

  • "Slowride" by Foghat
  • "30 Days In The Hole" by Humble Pie
  • "Theme From 'Greatest American Hero' (Believe It Or Not)" sung by Randy and Earl
  • "One Time One Night" by Los Lobos

Memorable quotesEdit

  • Randy: (looking at old paycheck) How long are these things good for? There's no explanation date on it.

  • Randy: I'm going to try and enter your dream tonight.
  • Earl: Huh?
  • Randy: I'm going to concentrate real hard when I'm falling asleep and try and enter your dream.
  • Earl: Why?
  • Randy: I don't know, just to see what you're doing.
  • Earl: How do you know I want you in my dream Randy? I mean, I could be with a lady or something.

  • Earl: Trespassing on a water tower, damage to a water tower, urinated in a water tower, and there was two of us.
  • Cashier: $500 dollars.
  • Earl: Done!




Guest starringEdit

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