After the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and with the looming threat of Hurricane Irma, IRS has issued a news release offering taxpayers tips on how to prepare for hurricanes, floods, and other disasters.
Specifically, IRS advised taxpayers to:
Create a duplicate set of key documents. Taxpayers should create a duplicate set of documents, such as bank statements, tax returns, identifications, and insurance policies, and keep them in a safe, dry place (i.e., one not likely to be affected by a threatening storm). As an alternative to hard copy, IRS encouraged taxpayers to provide electronic copies of their documents, which can be downloaded to a storage device or burned to a CD.
Document valuables. IRS encouraged taxpayers to photograph or videotape the contents of their homes—especially high-value items—to make it easier to claim any available insurance and tax benefits. This documentation of the home’s contents should similarly be kept in a safe place not likely to be affected by a storm.
Check on fiduciary bonds. Employers who use payroll service providers should ask the provider if it has a fiduciary bond in place, which could protect the employer in the event of default by the payroll service provider.
IRS also noted that, in the case of a federally-declared disaster, affected taxpayers can call 866-562-5227 to speak with an IRS specialist trained to handle disaster-related issues.