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.
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.