The IRS reminds taxpayers that May includes National Hurricane Preparedness Week and National Wildfire Awareness Month. It urges taxpayers to create or review emergency preparedness plans for surviving natural disasters.

The IRS advises taxpayers to do the following:

  • Secure key documents such as tax returns, birth certificates, deeds, titles and insurance policies inside waterproof containers in a secure space. Keep duplicates of these documents with a trusted person outside the area of the taxpayer. Scan these documents for backup storage on electronic media such as a flash drive.
  • Take current photos or videos of a home or business’s contents, especially expensive and high value items. The IRS disaster-loss workbooks in IRS Pub. 584-B can help individuals and businesses compile lists of belongings or business equipment.
  • Employers who use payroll service providers should ask the provider if it has a fiduciary bond in place. The bond could protect the employer in the event of default by the payroll service provider.
  • Reconstructing records after a disaster may be required for tax purposes, getting federal assistance or insurance reimbursement. Taxpayers who have lost some or all their records during a disaster can visit IRS’s Reconstructing Records webpage as one of their first steps.