Safeguard tax records from storms

With the start of this year’s hurricane season, the public is reminded to have important documents, like tax records, ready in the event that a hurricane in our area causes residents to evacuate.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) encourages individuals and businesses to safeguard themselves against natural disasters by taking a few simple steps.

First, you should create a backup set of records electronically. The backup should be stored away from the original set, and should be kept in a safe place.

Keeping a backup set of records – including, for example, bank statements, tax returns, insurance policies, etc. – 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 provided only on paper, they can be scanned into an electronic format. With documents in electronic form, taxpayers can download them to a backup storage device, like an external hard drive, or burn them to a CD or DVD.

Next, you should document your valuables. Photograph or videotape the contents of your 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 market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. Photos should be stored with a friend or family member who lives outside the area.

Another step taxpayers can take is to update their household’s 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 or organization changes functions, plans should be updated accordingly and employees should be informed of the changes.

If disaster strikes, an affected taxpayer can call (866) 562-5227 to speak with an IRS specialist trained to handle disaster-related issues.

Back copies of previously-filed tax returns and all attachments, including Forms W-2, can be requested by filing Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return.  Alternatively, transcripts showing most line items on these returns can be ordered on-line, by calling (800) 908-9946 or by using Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

For more information, visit the IRS’s website at http://www.irs.gov.

Short URL: http://www.jenningsdailynews.net/?p=20399

Posted by on Jun 12 2013. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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