Hurricane season began on June 1. If you live in a coastal area or other location where a hurricane could affect your home or business, you should take a few steps to safeguard your tax and other financial records. Read on to learn more about how you can prepare to help minimize the effect of a hurricane.
Create and Safeguard a Backup Copy of Your Tax Records
Having a copy of your tax records is the most important step you can take to rebuild your tax records in the event a hurricane damages or destroys the originals. The copy can be in either electronic or hardcopy form.
However, having a copy of your tax records will do you no good if you do not take adequate steps to protect them. If you receive tax records in hardcopy form, you can easily scan them into an electronic form. Once in an electronic form, you can upload the copy to an encrypted storage site in the cloud or save them locally on a USB drive, CD, or DVD.
If you prefer to keep the backup copy of your tax records locally, whether on portable media such as USB drives, CDs, or DVDs, or in hardcopy format, you should store them in a waterproof and fireproof container. You should keep the container at a location separate from the location where you keep the original copy of your tax records.
Update Your List of Valuables
You should maintain a list of valuable items in your home or business that may be lost in the event of a hurricane. This list can exist in various formats, including a written bullet list of items. However, the best format is an inventory maintained using photographs or videos. You should protect copies of photographs and videos in a manner similar to the backup copy of your tax records, maintaining them in the cloud or on local media that you have taken steps to protect from environmental damage such as water and fire.
Create and Maintain an Emergency Plan
If your family and employees are not safe in the event of a hurricane, having a backup copy of your tax records may not be of much benefit. Create emergency plans for both your home and your business. The contents of an emergency plan should include steps to take in the event of a hurricane, as well as instructions on how to check in once you have reached a place of safety.
In addition, you need to update the plan periodically to reflect changes and communicate the plan to your family and employees at least annually and after making any updates. If your family and employees are not familiar with the plan, they will not be able to execute it properly when faced with the stress of an actual hurricane. Therefore, they should practice the plan ahead of time.
Update Insurance Plans
You should have adequate insurance in place to be sure you can restore your home or business in the event a hurricane affects them. Such insurance should include coverage to address the situation where a payroll or other service provided does not perform their service.
Contact the IRS
In the event a hurricane affects you or you have other questions hurricanes and your income taxes, you can speak with the IRS. The IRS has specialists trained to address disaster-related issues, including providing copies of previous tax returns.
Where can I turn if I need help with my income taxes?
You can look to a tax attorney to help with all of our tax preparation needs. A tax attorney not only has the training and experience to help you with any tax question, he is also the only tax preparer who offers the protection of an attorney-client privilege.
Please call the telephone number on the top of this web site or complete the form below to get the income tax help you need today.
Connect with Mark on Google+
Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.