Preparedness & Emergency Plans, Tips & Recordkeeping
hurricane season in full swing and Hurricane Florence now a
Category 4 storm bearing down on the east coast, we and
the Internal Revenue Service encourages taxpayers to safeguard
Some simple steps can help taxpayers and businesses protect
financial and tax records in case of hurricanes and other
"With forecasts calling for an active Atlantic hurricane
season, the IRS encourages taxpayers to protect tax and
financial documents that can be hard to replace," IRS Acting
Commissioner Kevin M. Brown said. "A little planning can help
safeguard valuable information in case a hurricane or other
Listed below are tips for individuals
and businesses on maintaining financial and tax
Many people now receive bank statements and documents by
e-mail or over the Web. Paper records such as W-2s, tax
returns and other documents can be scanned into an electronic
With documents in electronic form, taxpayers can copy them
onto a USB drive as a backup, which can be sent to a relative
in another city for safe-keeping in case the taxpayer's
computer and paper files are destroyed.
Other options include copying files onto a CD or DVD. Many
retail stores also sell computer software packages that can be
used for recordkeeping.
Another way a taxpayer can prepare for disaster is to
photograph or videotape the contents of his or her home,
especially items of greater value. The IRS has a disaster loss
workbook, Publication 584, which can help taxpayers compile a
room-by-room list of belongings.
This 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
on Fiduciary Bonds
Employers who use payroll service providers should ask the
provider if they have a fiduciary bond in place. The bond
could protect the employer in the event of default by the
payroll service provider.
Emergency plans should be reviewed annually. Personal and
business situations change over time as do preparedness needs.
Individual taxpayers should make sure they are saving
documents everybody should keep including such things as W-2s,
home closing statements and insurance records. 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.
Is Ready to Help
When disaster strikes, the IRS is ready to help with valuable
information that can be requested if tax records are
Immediately after a casualty, a taxpayer can request a copy of
a return and all attachments (including Form W-2) by using
Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return.
An information return or transcript can be ordered by calling
1-800-829-1040 or using Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of
Tax Return. There is no fee for a transcript. Transcripts are
available for the current year and returns processed in the
three prior years.
This Web site, IRS.gov, is also an indispensable resource. The
following pages and publications contain information regarding
disaster preparedness and what to do when a disaster strikes:
- Tax Relief in Disaster Situations
- Reconstructing Your Records
- Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records.
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