As Dorian threatens and with the peak of hurricane season just ahead, the
Taxpayers can begin getting ready for a disaster with a preparedness plan that includes securing and duplicating essential documents, creating lists of property and knowing where to find information once a disaster has occurred.
Secure key documents and make copies
Taxpayers should place original documents such as tax returns, birth certificates, deeds, titles and insurance policies inside waterproof containers in a secure space. Duplicates of these documents should be kept with a trusted person outside the area a natural disaster may affect. Scanning them for backup storage on electronic media such as a flash drive is another option that provides security and easy portability.
Document valuables and equipment
Taking photographs or videos of a home or business's contents can help support claims for insurance or tax benefits after a disaster strikes. All property, especially expensive and high value items, should be recorded. The
Employers should check fiduciary bonds
Employers who use payroll service providers should ask the provider if it has a fiduciary bond in place. The bond could protect the employer in the event of default by the payroll service provider. The
Reconstructing records after a disaster may be required for tax purposes, getting federal assistance or insurance reimbursement. Taxpayers who have lost some or all of their records during a disaster should visit
In the case of a federally-declared disaster, taxpayers can visit the Tax Relief in Disaster Situations webpage for information or call 866-562-5227 to speak with an
A taxpayer impacted by a disaster outside of a federally declared disaster area may qualify for disaster relief. This includes taxpayers who are not physically located in a disaster area, but whose records necessary to meet a filing or payment deadline postponed during the relief period are located in a covered disaster area. Taxpayers located outside of a federally declared disaster area must self-identify to receive relief by calling 866-562-5227.
* Publication 2194, Disaster Resource Guide for Individuals and Businesses (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p2194.pdf)
* Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records (https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-publication-583)
* FS-2017-11, Reconstructing Records After a Natural Disaster or Casualty Loss (https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/reconstructing-records-after-a-natural-disaster-or-casualty-loss-irs-provides-tips-to-help-taxpayers)
* Tax Relief in Disaster Situations (https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-in-disaster-situations)
For more information about National Preparedness Month, visit Ready.gov/September.