5 Tips to Protect Your Financial Records in Case of a Natural Disaster

Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters can strike at any time. For this reason, it’s important you to take a few simple steps to protect your tax and financial records in the event you’re a victim of one of these unpredictable events.

Here are five tips to help weather the storm:

  1. Backup Records Electronically. Keep an extra set of electronic records in a safe place away from where you store the originals. You can use an external hard drive, CD/DVD or cloud storage service like Dropbox to store the most important records such as bank statements, tax returns and insurance policies.

  2. Document Valuables. Take pictures or videotape the contents of your home or place of business. These may help you prove the value of your lost items for insurance claims and casualty loss deductions. Publication 584, Casualty, Disaster and Theft Loss Workbook, can help determine your loss if a disaster strikes.

  3. Update Emergency Plans. Review your emergency plans every year. You may need to update them if your personal or business situation changes. If you don’t have an emergency plan, visit https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan for some tips on how to get started.

  4. Get Copies of Tax Returns or Transcripts. Visit IRS.gov to get Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, to replace lost or destroyed tax returns. If you just need information from your return, you can order a transcript online.

  5. IRS Tax Relief. In severe cases, the IRS may provide tax relief to victims of natural disasters. To find out if you qualify, visit https://www.irs.gov/uac/tax-relief-in-disaster-situations for a list of current tax relief programs. You can also call the IRS Disaster Hotline at 1-866-562-5227 to speak with a specialist trained to handle disaster-related tax issues.

William D. Truax and his friendly team of Enrolled Agents (EAs) and licensed tax preparers have been helping individuals and businesses confront the challenges of dealing with mother nature for over 30 years. If you’re the victim if a natural disaster or would like help preparing for the worst, CONTACT US before it’s too late!