Some natural disasters are more common in certain seasons. But major events like hurricanes, tornadoes and fires can strike at any time. It’s a good idea to plan for what to do in case of a disaster. You can help make your recovery easier by keeping your tax and financial records safe. The IRS suggests that taxpayers take some basic steps to prepare.
Back up records electronically. You should keep a set of backup records in a safe place away from the original set. This is more easily accomplished now that many financial institutions provide statements electronically and other financial information is readily available on the Internet. Even if the original records are on paper, they can be scanned into an electronic format. The electronic files should be backed up on an external hard drive, USB flash drive, CD, DVD, or to the cloud for safekeeping.
Document valuables. Take photos or videos of the contents of your home or business. These visual records can help you prove the value of your lost items. They may help with insurance claims or casualty loss deductions on your tax return. You should store them with a friend or relative who lives out of the area.
Update emergency plans. Emergency plans should be reviewed and updated, because personal and business situations change over time, as do preparedness needs.