Preparing for a Natural Disaster

In 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared major disasters following hurricanes, tropical storms, tornados, severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding, landslides and mudslides, wildfires and winter storms. Given the impact these events can have on individuals, organizations and businesses, now is the time to make or update an emergency plan. The IRS shares the following tips intended to help taxpayers prepare for a natural disaster.

Secure key documents and make copies
Taxpayers should place original documents such as tax returns, birth certificates, deeds, titles and insurance policies inside waterproof containers in a secure space. Duplicates of these documents should be kept with a trusted person outside the area of the taxpayer. Scanning them for backup storage on electronic media such as a flash drive is another option that provides security and portability.
Document valuables and equipment
Current photos or videos of a home or business’s contents can help support claims for insurance or tax benefits after a disaster. All property, especially expensive and high value items, should be recorded. The IRS disaster-loss workbook for personal can help individuals compile lists of belongings.
Rebuilding documents
Reconstructing records after a disaster may be required for tax purposes, getting federal assistance or insurance reimbursement. Those who have lost some or all their records during a disaster can visit IRS’s Reconstructing Records webpage as one of their first steps. 

IRS stands ready to help
After FEMA issues a disaster declaration, the IRS may postpone certain tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. There is no need to call the IRS to request this relief. The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies filing and payment relief.

Posted in