The 30-year-old former Scotland striker ran up the tax bill at the height of his career when he was reportedly earning £20,000 a week playing for English side Blackburn Rovers, who were then in the Premier League.
At Alloa Sheriff Court on Friday, Goodwillie, now an electrician’s labourer and a part-time player with Scottish League Two club Clyde, failed to persuade a sheriff to spare him sequestration.
The court was told that Goodwillie, who now lives in Menstire, Clackmannanshire, with his wife, model Kirstie Smith, 27, and their seven-month-old baby, owed unpaid income tax of £41,224.20.
Lawyers for HM Revenue and Customs petitioned for his sequestration.
Goodwillie, who said he could not afford a solicitor and appeared in court without one, said he “did not understand” why any tax was due and asked what he should do.
He said: “I’ve never been self-employed. Any money I received I paid tax on, it was taken off my wages, so I don’t understand the problem.”
Sheriff Simon Collins said he had “sufficient information” to establish the tax was unpaid.
He told Goodwillie: “We have here documentation showing unpaid income tax as far back as 2012. So seven years on, it’s a bit late to be coming to me and saying, ‘What am I going to do about this?’
“These are matters that you must have known about for a long time.
“The decision for me to make is whether there is any reason why I shouldn’t just grant the sequestration. I’ll grant the sequestration.”
Outside court, the ex-Dundee United star said he was served with sequestration papers on 29 March while at his work as a labourer for a company of electricians.
He said: “It came as a bolt out of the blue. The sheriff said I should have known about it for a while, but I’ve moved about, and I was probably getting letters sent to an old address.
“I’ve got nothing – I haven’t got a house, I’ve got a banger of a car, and I haven’t got any assets, and I’ve got to provide for my wife and baby. I’ll have to go to Citizens Advice to find out what I do now.
“I couldn’t even get a day off work before the case to go and speak to somebody.
“Maybe going bankrupt will be a fresh start. I just have to keep trying to move forward, now.”
Goodwillie said he had never recovered financially from the lengthy civil damages case which ended in November 2017 when three appeal judges upheld a Court of Session ruling that, on the balance of probabilities, he and former Dundee United teammate David Robertson had raped young mother Denise Clair after a drunken night out in Bathgate, West Lothian, in January 2011.
She won £100,000 damages in the civil action, which she launched after the Crown Office ruled out a criminal prosecution.