As Hurricane Matthew looms off the Southeastern US coast, the IRS is offering some advice for protecting financial documents and information.
In the case of a federally declared disaster, the IRS operates a toll-free number – (866) 562-5227 – staffed by IRS employees specially trained to deal with hurricane disasters.
Other tips include:
Emergency plan. Have one for homes and businesses. Know evacuation routes, locations of shelters, and how the business will function when warnings are issued or damage occurs. The plan also should include how employees are contacted after a disaster. All of this should be updated annually and everyone should be aware of any changes.
Document protection. Make electronic copies (i.e., on a disc or flash drive) of bank statements, tax returns, identifications, and insurance policies if only in paper copies. Keep them in a waterproof container separate from the original documents. But in many cases, companies and financial institutions have statements and documents online.
Back copies of tax returns and all attachments, including W-2 forms, can be requested by filing Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return. This information can also be found on transcripts showing most line items on returns through the Get Transcript link on IRS.gov. You can also call (800) 908-9946, or by use Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.
Record or document valuables. Photograph or videotape the contents of homes and businesses. If you do this, you can better claim insurance and tax benefits in the aftermath of a hurricane disaster.
The IRS states that photos can help prove the fair market value of items for casualty loss and insurance claims. While the agency advises that photos be stored with people away from the disaster area, photos now can be stored electronically.
Payroll service providers. Employers should ask providers if a fiduciary bond is in place, which could protect employers if the payroll service provider defaults.
Whatever your financial and accounting needs are, Williams & Kunkel can help you. Call us today in Flower Mound at 972-446-1040 to have a chat.
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