CHICAGO, June 12, 2019 – Recovering after the devastation and destruction triggered by natural disasters, including recent flooding in Illinois and throughout the Midwest, can be as emotional as it is overwhelming. Protecting your important financial records and vital documents is key – before a storm hits.
The arduous task of picking up the pieces in the aftermath of a disaster is much easier when you can start from backed-up copies of critical papers that may have been destroyed. The Illinois CPA Society recommends having additional copies of items such as:
- Identification records – birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, marriage certificates and social security cards
- Property deeds, mortgage papers, lease documents, car titles and registrations
- Insurance policies
- Recent bank, investment, and retirement account statements
- Will and trust documents and power of attorney, if applicable
A bank safe deposit box or a home safe are two ways to securely store original paper records. However, consider backing up your financial and personal documents electronically. Simple ways individuals or business owners can create and save digital copies include:
- Scanning and storing documents online via a secured cloud service – By going paperless and securely storing digital documents online, you can access them from almost any internet-enabled device.
- Scanning paper documents with a home printer/scanner – Digital copies of your records can then be safely stored onto your computer or portable digital devices.
- Using cloud-based bookkeeping software – If you do bookkeeping for your business, use accounting software that allows you to back-up your data online.
- Digitally storing financial records – Download copies of bills, receipts, financial statements, and other records directly from your bank and other business to keep on your own computer, USB drives, or with a cloud storage provider.
Your tax records can be an important resource in recovery for determining the value of property or assets destroyed in a natural disaster. But if your saved paper returns from years back are lost in a catastrophe, the IRS can help reconstruct your tax records.
Steps to get previous tax returns and other tax-related information are available here at the IRS.gov website.