Prepare for the Storm

WASHINGTON – Hurricane season starts next week and the Internal Revenue Service advises individuals and businesses to safeguard their records against natural disasters by taking a few simple steps.

 

Create an Electronic Additional Set of Records

 

Taxpayers should keep a duplicate set of records including bank statements, tax returns, identifications and insurance policies in a safe place such as a waterproof container, and away from the original set.

 

Keeping an additional set of records is easier now that many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically, and much financial information is available on the Internet. Even if the original records are only provided on paper, these can be scanned into an electronic format. This way, taxpayers can save them to the cloud, download them to a storage device such as an external hard drive or

USB flash drive, or burn them to a CD or DVD.

 

Document Valuables

 

Another step a taxpayer can take to prepare for a disaster is to photograph or videotape the contents of his or her home, especially items of higher value. The IRS has a disaster loss workbook,Publication 584, which can help taxpayers compile a room-by-room list of belongings.

 

A photographic record can help an individual prove the fair market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. Ideally, photos should be stored with a friend or family member who lives outside the area.

 

Update Emergency Plans

 

Emergency plans should be reviewed annually. Personal and business situations change over time as do preparedness needs. When employers hire new employees or when a company ororganization changes functions, plans should be updated accordingly and employees should be informed of the changes. Make your plans ahead of time and practice them.

 

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