Hurricane Season and Tax Records

As June 1st rolled around  this year, we are all reminded that Hurricane Season is upon us.  Safeguarding your personal and business records against such natural disasters are a must.  Below are a few simple steps you can take to protect all of your records.  Emergency plans should be reviewed on an annual basis.  Over time, your business and personal situations change, and you need to be able to handle them at a moment's notice.   The most basic step if you still have paper records is by placing them in airtight plastic containers or zip closure bags and moving them out of harm's way.  Keep an additional set of records by maintaining statements and documents electronically.  Your records can also be scanned into an electronic format.  They can either be backed up to a USB flash drive, burned to a CD or saved to the cloud. 

Another step is to prepare with photographs or videotape the contents of your home.  The IRS has a workbook for disaster loss, Publication 584.  This workbook helps taxpayers compile a room by room list of belongings.  You may also consider online backup to ensure your data is fully protected. Online backup services store your files in another region of the country, so if a hurricane or other natural disaster occurs, documents remain safe.  It is important to understand the risks associated with losing all of your financial documentation. All of the documentation you would need for insurance and recovery purposes should be easily obtainable in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Safeguarding your financial information should be part of your overall emergency plan.