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Preparing for a Natural Disaster

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As we have seen over the last few months, natural disasters, such as Hurricane Florence, can strike at any time. While ensuring personal safety and the safety of one’s family is, of course, the most important concern at times like this, it is also important for taxpayers to consider the effects of a natural disaster on their finances. Although the IRS does offer tax relief and assistance to victims of natural disasters, it is still important for taxpayers to prepare for these types of disasters by making copies of important documents, listing valuable property, and storing this documentation in a safe place. For help preparing your own tax-related documentation, please contact our Florida tax and IRS legal team today.

Making Copies of Important Documents  

The IRS offers tax relief to victims of hurricanes, wildfires, tropical storms, floods, severe storms, tornadoes, high winds, volcanoes, and earthquakes. However, this does not eliminate the need for individuals, businesses, and families to ensure that they prepare for a natural disaster by collecting and organizing original copies of important documents, such as:

  • Bank statements;
  • Tax returns;
  • Deeds and title documents; and
  • Insurance policies.

All of these documents should be kept in a secure and waterproof location to ensure that they are not irretrievably lost in the event of a natural disaster. Taxpayers should also consider making copies of these documents by scanning them and then saving them to storage devices, such as a hard drive or flash drive. It’s also a good idea to give a duplicate set of key documents to a relative or trusted friend who lives outside of the area that the disaster could affect.

Documenting Valuables and Equipment  

Aside from making copies of important documents and storing them in a safe place, taxpayers are also encouraged to carefully document any high value property in their homes or businesses by either videotaping or photographing the items. These lists of belongings and business equipment can later play an important role when it comes to collecting on available insurance or qualifying for certain tax benefits after a natural disaster. Electronic versions of the images or videos can also be kept on the same storage device where the copies of tax returns, deeds, and bank statements are stored.

Checking on Fiduciary Bonds 

Small business owners who use payroll service providers may need to take additional steps to prepare for natural disasters. For instance, employers are encouraged to find out if their service providers have a fiduciary bond in place. These bonds help protect employers in the event of default, which could occur if the service provider is located in an area affected by a natural disaster.

Contact a Dedicated Florida Tax Attorney Today   

To schedule a one-on-one consultation with experienced Florida tax attorney Ronald Cutler, P.A., please call us at 386-490-9949. We know our clients lead busy lives and so take great pains to work with their schedules by making appointments not only on weekdays, but on evenings and weekends. Our initial consultations are also conducted freed of charge, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online today.

Resource:

irs.gov/newsroom/irs-urges-taxpayers-to-prepare-for-natural-disasters

irs.gov/publications/p584