Are Your Important Documents Safe?

On June 1st, the IRS released a notice encouraging anyone in Hurricane prone areas to make sure their tax documents are safe.  But really, this applies to anyone.  We’re all at risk of something: Hurricanes, Tornados, Fires, Earthquakes, Floods or Mudslides.  Sometimes they even come in groups, unfortunately.

So are your important documents safe?  I’m not just talking your tax documents.  You’ll want to include things such as birth certificates, titles, deeds and passports as things you want to be keeping safe.  One of the things to consider is a fireproof safe.  These are good for anything you think it would be a particular pain to replace.

The IRS recommends a number of things you can do to protect yourself:

Paperless Record Keeping

Scan paper documents and store them on a USB Drive or CD.  They recommend then sending the item to a relative or friend in another location to keep it safe.  You also have online document storage options.

Documenting Valuables

Photograph or videotape the contents of your home, especially valuables such as your jewelry and high tech items.  This will provide proof for insurance and casualty loss claims.  Check out the IRS Pub 584 for help compiling a room-by-room list of your belongings.  (Note: Because some items in your home appreciate in value, you may want to consider periodically getting updated appraisals for replacement value on things such as jewelry and antiques.)

Update Emergency Plans

Your situation changes over time, so the IRS recommends reviewing your emergency plan annually.  Make sure you have all your important documents backed up and that you have your home set up with everything you’ll need to handle whatever disaster you may be at risk for.

For more information on this, see the IRS news release and Pub 552 on recordkeeping.

Comments (2) Leave your comment

  1. Can you deduct a home invasion loss as a casualty loss? Loss of jewelry and money. Insurance and police reports filed. Received some insurance money but not covered for full amount. If deductible, what form do I use?

    • Hi Dixie,
      Yes, theft is eligible for a casualty loss deduction. It is deductible as an itemized deduction. TurboTax will guide you through entering the information.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

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