September is National Preparedness Month. Unfortunately with hurricane season here and the ongoing threat of wildfires in some parts of the country, it is important for us to remind our clients to prepare for natural disasters and have an emergency plan in place.
All taxpayers, from individuals to organizations and businesses, should take time now to create or update their emergency plans. This plan should include securing and duplicating essential tax and financial documents, creating lists of property, and knowing where to find information once a disaster has occurred.
It is best if you keep critical original documents inside waterproof containers and in a secure place. Documents such as tax returns, birth certificates, deeds, titles, and insurance policies should also be duplicated and kept with a trusted person outside the area where a natural disaster may occur. Securing this information can help in the aftermath of a disaster, and it can help you more quickly take advantage of available disaster relief.
It is important to have digital copies of your returns and other important documents. If your original documents are available only on paper, you can use a scanner and save them in secure cloud storage or even on a USB flash drive.
After a disaster hits, photographs and videos of your home or business’s contents can help support claims for insurance or tax benefits. All property, especially expensive and high-value items, should be recorded.
If you are impacted by a disaster outside of a federally declared disaster area, you may qualify for disaster relief. This includes those who are not physically located in a disaster area but may be filing returns and making payments in other states. In this case, you may be eligible to meet a filing or payment deadline postponed during the relief period in a covered disaster area.
We wish safety and well-being for all of our clients. If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to us. We are here to help.
For more information about National Preparedness Month, visit Ready.gov/September.