With the recent outbreak of wildfires, tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters, it is a good time to think about the storage of your important records. In addition to your birth certificates, passports and other important personal items, you should consider protecting your tax records.
The IRS has recently released five tips for protecting your important records:
1. Backup Records Electronically – keep an extra set of electronic records in a safe place away from where you store your originals. You can use a scanner and an external hard drive, CD or DVD to store the most important records.
2. Document Valuables – Take pictures or videotape the contents of your home or place of business. These may help you prove the value of your lost items for insurance claims and casualty loss deductions.
3. Update Emergency Plans – Review your emergency plans each year. You may need to update them if your personal or business situation changes.
4. Get Copies of Tax Returns or Transcripts – Visit www.IRS.gov to get Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, to replace lost or destroyed tax returns. If you just need information from your return, you can order a transcript online.
5. Count on the IRS – the IRS has a Disaster Hotline to help people with tax issues after a disaster. Call the IRS at 1-866-562-5227 to speak with a disaster specialist.