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Savvy Roadrunner: IRS Tips for Disaster Response

A good plan ensures your information is available, secure during times of crisis

This month’s Savvy Roadrunner feature offers tips to help you prepare and safeguard your information in case of natural disasters. This time of year brings somewhat unpredictable weather patterns and many communities around the country are experiencing natural disasters. With these tips from IRS, you can limit the inconvenience later should you be affected by bad weather or another crisis.

1. Electronic Backup–Everyone should keep appropriate records. The IRS recommends making an electronic copy of your financial and bank statements, tax returns and insurance policies. Many organizations now provide these documents in PDF format. It is fairly easy, however, to use a scanner in your home or at a local copy store to make a record of all your important documents. With your documents in electronic form, they can be saved using internet services, on a USB flash drive, an external hard drive or on a CD or DVD.

2. Records of Valuables–It is very helpful for you to have appropriate records of your home and any items of higher value. There is an IRS disaster loss workbook, Publication 584, which offers advice on making a list of your property. Because most persons now have a smartphone with a camera, it’s also quite easy to take digital pictures of all valuables. These picture files may then be saved together with your other electronic records or using an online service such as Dropbox.

3. Updated Emergency Plans–Each individual or business should have plans for emergency supplies in your location and potential evacuation site. The emergency supplies typically include medical kits, food and water. With a major emergency, it may be necessary to remain in that location for a period of time. For businesses, the “stay in place” and evacuation plans should be shared with all employees.

4. IRS Assistance–The IRS has staff trained to handle disaster-related issues and can be reached at (866) 562-5227. If you need copies of tax returns or other documents, file IRS Form 4506 or Form 4506T-EZ.

Disaster preparedness is important. While your risk of a disaster may be fairly low, it is savvy to “be prepared” for a potential natural disaster.

Source: Crescendo Interactive, Washington News

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