With the start of this year’s hurricane season, individuals and businesses are encouraged to safeguard themselves against natural disasters by taking a few simple steps:
Create a Backup Set of Records Electronically
Taxpayers, both business & individuals, should keep a set of backup records in a safe place. The backup should be stored away from the original set.
Keeping a backup set of records –– including, for example, bank statements, tax returns, insurance policies, etc. –– is easier now that many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically, and much financial information is available on the Internet. Even if the original records are provided only on paper, they can be scanned into an electronic format. With documents in electronic form, taxpayers can download them to a backup storage device, like an external hard drive, or burn them to a CD or DVD.
Photograph or videotape the contents of your business and/or home, especially items of higher value
The IRS has a disaster loss workbook, Publication 584, which can help taxpayers compile a room-by-room list of belongings. A photographic record can help an individual prove the market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. Photos should be stored with a friend or family member who lives outside the area.
Update Emergency Plans
Emergency plans should be reviewed annually. Personal and business situations change over time as do preparedness needs. When employers hire new employees or when a company or organization changes functions, plans should be updated accordingly and employees should be informed of the changes.