Tips for Taxpayers to Develop Emergency Preparedness Plans

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month? The IRS is reminding taxpayers to create or update their emergency preparedness plans due to the upcoming hurricane season and the ongoing threat of wildfires in some parts of the country.

From individuals to organizations and businesses, having a preparedness plan in place can help in the aftermath of a disaster, as well as help quickly take advantage of disaster relief available from the IRS.

  • Secure critical documents such as tax returns, birth certificates, deeds, titles, and insurance policies inside waterproof containers in a secure space.
  • Make copies of paper documents and scan them to save on electronic media such as a flash drive, CD, or in the cloud, which provide security and easy portability.
  • Record all property, especially expensive and high-value items. Photographs and videos of a home or business’s contents can help support claims for insurance or tax benefits. The IRS disaster-loss workbooks for individuals and businesses can help compile lists of belongings or business equipment.
  • Employers who use payroll service providers should check their payroll service provider’s fiduciary bonds, as they could protect the employer in the event of default by the provider. Employers should create an Electronic Federal Tax Payment System account to monitor their payroll tax deposits and receive email alerts.
  • For tax purposes and federal assistance or insurance reimbursement, you may need to reconstruct records after a disaster. Taxpayers who have lost some or all their records during a disaster can visit the IRS’s Reconstructing Records webpage.

Resources

Taxpayers living in a federally declared disaster can visit the IRS Tax Relief in Disaster Situations webpage or Around the Nation on IRS.gov and check for the available disaster tax relief. The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies filing and payment relief. Affected taxpayers can call 866-562-5227 to speak with an IRS specialist trained to handle disaster-related issues.

In addition, taxpayers impacted by a disaster outside of a federally declared disaster area may still qualify for disaster relief. This includes taxpayers who are not physically located in a disaster area, but whose records necessary to meet a filing or payment deadline postponed during the relief period are in a covered disaster area.

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