Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, other natural disasters, break-ins, vandalism and other malicious events occur at all times 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 in order 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 in order 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 in order 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:
- 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 or DVD to store the most important records. You can take these with you to keep your copies safe. You may want to store items such as bank statements, tax returns and insurance policies.
- 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.
- Update emergency plans. Review your emergency plans every year. You may need to update them if your family personal or business situation changes.
- 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, for a smaller fee than the IRS would charge you. If we did not prepare the return and you need a copy, visit www.IRS.gov to get Form 4506-T or form 4506T-EZ (Request for Copy of Tax Return).
- Contact the IRS. 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, clients have access to copies of your tax returns 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.