Happy Thursday, everyone! Did you know that this week (May 6th – 12th) is National Hurricane Preparedness Week? I had no idea there was such a thing until just recently! The National Weather Service uses this week to educate people about the dangers of these storms and how to prepare for them.

In observance of the holiday, the IRS released some suggestions that taxpayers, especially those living in storm-prone areas, may want to keep in mind. Let’s talk about a few of them.

Update Emergency Plans

Whether we are talking about your business or your family, it’s important that you have a plan in placefirst aid kit in the event of an emergency (such as a hurricane, fire, earthquake, tornado, etc.). Know clear escape routes from your home or building and make sure to have more than one escape route in case of fire, debris, etc. Decide on a location for everyone to meet at in case you get separated. Have an emergency kit packed and ready to go at the drop of a hat. Take into consideration any special restrictions that you or your family may have (dietary, mobility, etc.). Keeping this in mind, pack your emergency kit and put it somewhere that is easily accessible. Make sure to include things like first aid items, flashlights, batteries, battery-powered radio, blankets, extra clothing, non-perishable food, bottled water, etc.

If you need some ideas on developing an emergency plan, check out the government website dedicated solely to this concept – https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.

Make Digital Copies of Important Documents

Most of us have an old-fashioned file cabinet packed with lots of files and paperwork in our homes and offices. The IRS highly recommends that, in addition to those paper files, you scan those important documents and make digital copies of them. Store those digital copies in more than one location (cloud, flash drives, CDs, etc.). If you still want to hold on to those original hard copies, make sure to store them in a fireproof and waterproof safe so that they will be protected in the event of a natural disaster.

Document Valuables

cameraAnyone who has been through a natural disaster and has lost everything understands how difficult it is to document and itemize the possessions that they lost. The IRS recommends that you stay one step ahead of Mother Nature and document your valuables and possessions BEFORE a disaster strikes. Keep a log, take photos, or take video footage of your house and possessions. That way, if a natural disaster were to strike, you already have documentation of the items that you lost. You’ll need this information for both tax and insurance purposes.  By taking care of this ahead of time, you won’t be forced to try to remember each and every item on top of all of the stress and other difficulties you’ll face as a victim of a natural disaster.

In observance of National Hurricane Preparedness Week, these were just a few suggestions from the IRS about being prepared for a potential storm. This list doesn’t apply to just hurricanes – it can be applied to any natural disaster or emergency. In the event of a federally declared natural disaster, the IRS is ready to help. They have a hotline that victims can call and get answers to all of their questions about the tax implications of the aftermath of the storm.

If you have questions about the deductibility of expenses incurred due to natural disaster, give our office a call today. Our tax experts can help you determine what expenses you are able to deduct.

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“Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead, but You Can.” Internal Revenue Service, www.irs.gov/newsroom/disasters-dont-plan-ahead-but-you-can.

“Make A Plan.” Know the Facts, Be Empowered! – Ready.gov.www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.