IRS: Protect your documents in case disaster strikes
With deadly tornadoes, destructive flooding and raging wildfires part of the seasonal landscape, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers to protect their valued assets.
Here are a few tips to help you weather a disaster:
Keep a record • Taking photos or video of your big-ticket belongings can greatly help with insurance and recovery claims. Give a copy to a friend or family member who lives out of the area.
Back up everything • Make scanned copies of original tax returns, bank statements and insurance papers, and store them on a thumb drive or burn to a CD. Keep the electronic copy in a safe place separate from the originals.
Check on fiduciary bonds • For business owners who use payroll services, check to see if the provider has a fiduciary bond. That can protect employers if the payroll service defaults.
If you lose documents • You can order copies of old tax returns and attachments (such as W-2s) from the IRS by using Form 4506 or calling 1-866-562-5227. The IRS also has a disaster loss workbook (Publication 584), as well as podcasts and YouTube videos on disaster assistance (available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language) at www.irs.gov">http://www.irs.gov.