Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, other natural disasters, break-ins, vandalism, electronic hackers and other malicious events occur always during the year. We never know when a disaster will strike, or what damage it will cause. There may be little or nothing you can do to prevent your home or office from being destroyed or damaged, but you can at least ensure that no matter what happens, your tax, financial and other personal records will be safe.
Everyone should have a plan in place for disaster recovery of records to prove ownership or relationship. These are records that insurance companies and federal, state and local governments require assisting you in recovery of loss.
Your insurance company will need proof of what you lost to replace your items. The government will need proof of ownership of real estate, cars, personal items and birth certificates to prove who your dependents are to assist you in providing low cost or no interest loans. Some government programs as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that even give you free money, depending on what records you provide to prove what you owned and who your family is after a disaster.
You can take a few simple steps to protect your tax and financial records in case of a disaster:
How to obtain copies of lost or destroyed tax returns. We can provide you with a copy of your lost or destroyed tax returns, if we prepared the returns, at no cost for current clients (see online portal below), or for non-current clients we charge a small fee and you do not have to wait for a copy to be mailed to you from the IRS.
If you can’t find your copies, the IRS can give you a transcript of the information you need, or a copy of your tax return. Remember though, a transcript is NOT a copy of your return, just a printout of your return information. They are NOT the same thing.
Here’s how to get your federal tax return information from the IRS:
– To order by phone, call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts. You can also request your transcript using your smartphone with the IRS2Go mobile phone app.
– To request an individual tax return transcript by mail or fax, complete Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript. Businesses and individuals who need a tax account transcript should use Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.
If your state has an income tax, contact the Department of Revenue or Franchise Tax Board to obtain copies of current and past years’ state tax returns as well.
The IRS has a Disaster Hotline to help people with tax issues after a disaster. Call the IRS at 1-866-562-5227 to speak with a specialist trained to handle disaster-related tax issues.
Don’t forget about an online portal. Remember, our current clients have access to copies of your tax returns at no cost when you visit our website at www.azmoneyguy.com. If you need your login information or tips on how to use the portal to your advantage, let us know.
Call today, don’t delay! See how this affects you. We can be reached at 602-264-9331 and on all social media under azmoneyguy.