State to 93 Year Old: ‘Where’s your 1987 tax return?’

SAINT CLAIR -- The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has been offering tax amnesty to people who have failed to pay their taxes in recent years, but one woman in Schuylkill County says she received a tax amnesty offer in the mail from the state and got scared.

Martha Katchur, age 93, cannot believe the state would track her down after all these years.

The Department of Revenue says it has no record of her business filing a corporate return 30 years ago.

She wonders why the state would come after her now.

Katchur claims she's always paid her taxes on time ever since her first job making blasting caps at a plant near Tamaqua toward the end of World War II.

In the early 1960s, she started a funnel cake business and sold the cakes at fairs in and around Schuylkill County.

The woman from Saint Clair says she set up the business to help her family get through tight times.

"Our bills were paid. My husband, he would make sure they were paid."

Her husband died in 1996

But a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue offering the business tax amnesty confuses and scares Martha.

The state is offering people with outstanding tax bills or fines a discount on the penalty for those who apply by June 19 and the letter claims the state is looking at Martha's funnel cake business because there's no record the business filed a corporate tax return in 1987.

Andrew Chichura is Martha's son in law. He says Martha and her late husband kept detailed records and doubts their business ever skipped a year filing state taxes.

"My first reaction was that this was a scam," Chichura said. "I just couldn't understand why they waited 30 years to notify a small business in the state that they have not filed a corporate tax return."

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue says he could not comment on individual cases.

In a statement, he wrote, "the department mailed notices to those with a liability or unfiled tax return. Those liabilities can be decades old."

Martha does not think she has a liability. She has saved the bookkeeping record from 1987, the year in question. A quick look at it appears to show the business lost a little money that year.

"I didn't do anything wrong, and I'm 93? Pick on an old lady?" she said.

Katchur and her family even tried to find the accounting firm in Saint Clair that the funnel cake business hired to do its taxes in the 1980s but the firm dissolved in the 1990s.

"If I owe anything, I'll gladly pay it. Just leave me alone," she added.

We have been investigating this case for a week, and Martha Katchur learned Thursday the state Department of Revenue told her accountant the case is closed and the department will not pursue an action for possibly failing to file a return 30 years ago.

Her daughter says the state gave no reason for closing the case.

A Department of Revenue spokesperson says anyone receiving an amnesty letter should call them even if people do not believe they owe the state money.

36 comments

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  • PAgovtWaste

    Behold, The State of Pennsylvania’s brutal efficiency… Prime example of tax dollars at work in NEPA. Such effort and diligence would be better spent on fixing potholes.

    • Colonel Bob

      Technically, the statute of limitations begins when you file your return. Ergo, if you never file a tax return there is no statute of limitations.

  • Robert J Mills

    Typical Pennsylvania politicians. Thirty years ago, I couldn’t remember what or where I was and they want her tax records. They should be ashamed of themselves but as we all know politicians have no shame, only excuses.

  • CeeMe

    Amazing!!! Yet we’ll let immigrants, both legal and illegal, come here and we offer them tax breaks and low cost loans to start their own businesses.

  • Pissmeoff

    Sick world and we pay for free cell phones,free food and housing for the lazy welfare scabs and the liberal IRS wants to suck more money out of a 93 yr old lady that worked for the little that she has so wrong no matter how you look at it

  • MMMM

    Seriously!? Doesn’t matter how old you are, there is no excuse for getting out of paying your taxes! Cry me a river! And get off my back with your negative comments! Everybody always wants a free pass. Life doesn’t work that way.

    • CeeMe

      The woman said if she owed anything, she would pay it, but she didn’t think she owed anything.

      • The Truth

        And she played the “old lady” card. If she were one of your dreaded “illegals” you’d be all over her no matter what.

      • YOURIGNORANT

        @thetruth Ironic you go by “THE TRUTH” . She is 93. Its not a card she is playing fool.

  • Robert

    Live long and prosper, so the state can tax you!
    Then tax you one more time for good measure upon death.
    LOL, how sad we are.

  • Canyon

    If it took 30 years to find this then the Department of Revenue should be red – faced to even come forward with such a revelation of incompetence. You are not required to keep business records for more than 7 years, so they should suck it up and call it a day!

    • PAgovtWaste

      Behold, The State of Pennsylvania’s brutal efficiency… Prime example of tax dollars at work in PA. Such effort and diligence would be better spent on fixing potholes.

  • Pay Up Now

    I guess if she was 60 it would be a different story? How about 70? What’s the age cutoff for paying your taxes?
    Pay what you owe or pay the price! I don’t care how old she is. I pay my taxes, she can pay hers.

    • A2B2C

      No, it’s not the age of the person, it’s the THIRTY YEARS it took the State to say they thought there might be a problem. Do you have your records from thirty years ago to prove you paid your taxes?

  • Jim

    bunch of scum bags…if anybody should be brought up on RICO charges it should be the thieves from the state……bunch of dam crooks….disgusting low life scum bags working in Harrisburg, harassing the public on our dime!

  • Long D. Johnson

    Martha, you don’t owe anything. Hire an attorney. There’s statute of limitations on this crap. They’re long, but not this long.

  • A2B2C

    Is the State so desperate for money that they’ve stooped to preying on old people, hoping they’ll be scared and just write a check? Fortunately this lady is still a little feisty and has some family to help her out! I thought we were only required to keep our tax records for seven years and now we find out they’re going back 30!!! Shame on them!

  • Meatballkop

    A possible 30 year old liability. It is questioned. And the case is closed. What a waste of tax dollars. SMH.

  • Popper offer

    Take on an old lady about some funnel cake money 30 years ago it’s ridiculous take a closer look at the Crooked contractors in the area

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    She should scan a copy of her middle finger and mail it back and write “1987” on it.

  • Tjkat

    Give me a break!!! 30 years ago!! Get the real crooks who cheat on their taxes. Leave her alone.

  • NEPADECAY

    Dont worry Mary! your money will be used wisely to pay some really worthy pensions. Most notably Penn state administrators.

Comments are closed.