Hurricane preparedness week: what the IRS wants you to know

Your Guide to State, Local, Federal, Estate + International Taxation

hurricane preparedness, IRS, taxThis week is Hurricane Preparedness Week and the start of the Atlantic hurricane season will soon be upon us. The IRS has taken the occasion to remind us of some things we might not normally consider in preparation for such an event. Much of this advice also applies to other natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. Both businesses and individuals should have a disaster plan in place and remember that valuables can include documents in addition to the family jewels, photos, and pets.

Losing copies of prior year tax returns, insurance policy documents, identification papers such as passports and birth certificates, and financial documents, in a natural disaster can make a difficult recovery even more so. Fortunately, creating electronic copies of key documents is easier than ever. Whether it be on a USB flash drive, CD, DVD, or on the cloud. Make sure you have secure copies of your important documents and consider an offsite option as well such as a safe deposit box at your bank. Or you may want to at least consider the old fashioned way and put copies important documents in a secure waterproof safe. Just keep your risk of life and limb to the safety of your loved ones and not your documents in any disaster.

The IRS offers a special toll-free hotline to people in federally declared disaster areas staffed with IRS specialists trained to handle disaster-related issues. The phone number is (866) 562-5227. Additionally, you can find hurricane preparedness information on the National Weather Service website.

Dale F. Jensen, CPA