Protecting Your Personal Information During a Natural Disaster
In light of the recent storms in Florida, taxpayers across the state are being encouraged to reassess their emergency preparedness plans and as a part of this endeavor, to take steps to protect their personal and tax-related information. Read on to learn more about a few precautionary measures that you can take to protect your family’s information during a natural disaster.
Keep Your Documents Safe
One of the most important things that you can do to protect your tax-related information is to store all copies of critical original documents inside a waterproof container and store that container in a safe place. These documents could include everything from tax returns and Social Security cards to birth certificates and property deeds. It’s also a good idea to make copies of these originals and to store them in a different location, like a safe deposit box or even with a trusted friend or relative who lives somewhere else.
Create Electronic Copies of Important Documents
Not all important documents are in print. In fact, it is becoming more and more common for critical tax-related and personal information to be saved online, in the cloud, on desktops, or on external hard drives. For original documents that are only available on paper, taxpayers should strongly consider scanning those documents and saving them in the cloud or on a flash drive. Fortunately, many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically.
Create a Record of Your Valuables
Besides storing and making copies of your important documents, it’s also a good idea to record all of your property, especially your high value items. This can take the form of a simple list with a few photos or videos, both of which can be used to establish value and support claims for tax or insurance benefits after a disaster.
Reconstructing Your Tax Records
Unfortunately, even those who use the greatest care in taking steps to safeguard their tax information could end up with lost or destroyed records after a natural disaster. In these cases, it may be necessary to replace or reconstruct those records for tax purposes. You can do so by obtaining free tax return transcripts online, contacting your bank or title company for copies of bank statements and loan documents, reaching out to your insurer for copies of your policies, and contacting your credit card company.
You May Qualify for Tax Relief
Victims of natural disasters are often entitled to tax relief if they live in a federally declared disaster area. These individuals could qualify for automatic filing and payment extensions, among other benefits. For help determining whether you could be entitled to this type of relief, reach out to our legal team today.
Set Up a Free One-on-One Consultation Today
If you were affected by the recent severe storms in Florida, or have questions about how to protect your own tax and personal information in the event of a natural disaster, feel free to call experienced CPA, former FBI Special Agent, and dedicated Florida and nationwide tax attorney Ronald Cutler, P.A. at 386-490-9949 for advice. You can also set up a free case review by reaching out to a member of our legal team via online message.