Tagged Under : 4506 Form, 4506-T, accounting professional, bank statements, computers, Daniel Stoica, disasters, documents, emergency plan, finances, insurance, IRS, record-keeping, records, tax professional, tax returns, taxes, valuables, W-2
A disaster at home is extremely stressful. The last thing you need is to worry about all your important documents. Here are four simple tips to help you keep your records and documents safe in the event of a disaster.
- Record-keeping: You have the option of going paperless when keeping records of you finances and taxes, thanks to computers. A lot of people even get their bank statements and W-2s and tax returns emailed to them. If you have them on paper, you can scan them to your computer and copy them to a CD or flash drive. Keep them in a safe or safe deposit box and keep them with home mortgage documents, car titles, insurance paperwork and birth, death and marriage certificates. There are services online that will even back up your files and store them for you. But, no matter how you keep your documents safe, make sure they are safe against damage or theft.
- Document Valuables: The IRS can provide you with workbooks on disaster loss safe-keeping. It assists you with listing your total home belongings, especially those items of great value. You should keep photos and videos in a safe place, away from your home. By doing this, you can keep track of the market value of your belongings for insurance purposes in case of a disaster.
- Update Emergency Plans: Be sure you have a way to get severe weather information by purchasing a Weather Radio and keep new batteries in it. Have a plan should you end up in the middle of threatening weather or a fire and review your emergency plan every year.
- Count on the IRS: If there is a disaster in your area or a fire, the IRS will help you. They provide information that you can request if your records are lost or destroyed. If you are the victim of a federally declared disaster, you can get copies of previous year’s tax returns by submitting a 4506 Form, Request for Copy of Tax Return, or a 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return. You must make sure you specify the disaster in RED at the top of the form to move your request through quicker. The usual fee will be waived for this service.
If you need more information, type in “Preparing for a Disaster” in the search box on the IRS website. You may also want to contact your finance and/or accounting professional about which documents are most important to keep secure.