83-year-old fights state over taxes she doesn't owe
Posted February 20
Amanda Lancaster of Rocky Mount never expected to get a notice from the North Carolina Department of Revenue threatening to garnish her bank account for past-due taxes.
“I almost cried when I saw they might come get my money,” she said. “When I got a letter in February of last year, 2013, saying I owed some state tax, I said, ‘No, I don’t!’”
With penalties and fees, the bill climbed to more than $2,200.
“I thought, ‘I don't have $2,000 to give them,’"
At 83, Lancaster lives on a small, fixed monthly income. Because of that, she was advised years ago that there’s no need for her to file a tax return.
She called the Department of Revenue multiple times and got nowhere. Then Lancaster contacted accountant Ronnie Williford for help.
Williford said he thought the problem would be simple to resolve.
“Boy, was I wrong,” he said.
Williford said he sent the department the required paperwork, which proved she didn’t owe anything, about a dozen times.
“The same thing, over and over and over and over," he said.
Then, Lancaster decided to contact 5 On Your Side, which got in touch with the Department of Revenue on her behalf.
Staffers got on the case and quickly determined Lancaster did not owe any taxes.
So what was the hang up?
Revenue Department Spokesman Trevor Johnson would not talk about Lancaster’s particular case or the department’s audit process. But he did say that he does not feel it’s typical for taxpayers to have to resubmit information and forms over and over again
A year after her problem started, Lancaster said she’s thrilled it’s finally over.
“From now on, I'll file state tax and let them get it and read it and throw it in the trash - or whatever they want to do with it," she said.