How To Safeguard Tax Records Before Disaster Strikes

October 23, 2014

There is nothing like living in a sunshine state and the perks one gets to enjoy are awesome … beautiful sandy beaches, tropical breezes, and glorious weather greeting you nearly every new day. But like everything else in life, you have to accept the good with the bad; and in Florida, that means contending with severe tropical storms and hurricanes.

When the local storm center sends out an early alert for a pending siting, most individuals are serious-minded enough to kick into survival mode and start “batting” down the trenches. Preparation is key first and foremost and that should include protecting your personal and/or business records as well. Once new, old or original documents are destroyed, the headaches, stress, and time involved towards retrieving them could prove endless.

Here are some helpful hints to help safeguard all of your personal records:

Back-Up Electronically

Most financial institutions nowadays provide statements and documents electronically. However, original records may still be needed or provided as the only source of record. Scanning them into an electronic format is a great way to keep them safe. You can save them onto an USB flash drive, CD or DVD and then store them in an airtight/waterproof home safe, or at your local bank in a safe deposit box.

Photograph Valuables

When tragedy strikes, memory generally fails us. Keeping a photographic and/or video record of the contents of your home and items of extreme value will be helpful when trying to prove fair market value for insurance and casualty loss claims. Save them onto your hard drive and also back them up electronically as you would your personal records.

What’s Your Emergency Plan?

Every household and business should have one. There is nothing worse than being caught off-guard. Situations change over time and reviewing a disaster plan yearly keeps everyone on the same page and informed. Businesses bringing in new hires, should make them aware of what safeguards are in place in case an emergency happens. Just because a plan is in action, doesn’t mean it should not be reviewed and updated yearly.

Monitor Fiduciary Bonds

Reminder to Employers: If you are using a payroll service provider, make sure they have a fiduciary bond in place to protect themselves in the event of disaster and default.

IRS Hotline Available

Specialists are available to handle disaster-related issues by calling 866-562-5227866-562-5227. Back copies of tax returns are available upon request and can be obtained on online at www.irs.gov.

Before disaster hits remember, “It is better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back with regret.”

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Jo Ann Koontz

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