September is National Preparedness Month, the perfect time for all Americans to check their readiness for storms, floods, fires and other disasters. To help with that checkup, the IRS recently reminded taxpayers of important steps to include in their disaster preparation plans.
Store key documents in a secure, waterproof and fireproof container. These documents include birth certificates and/or Certificates of Naturalization, Social Security cards, tax returns, home deeds and vehicle titles. If you do not have a suitable storage option in your home, you may wish to rent a safe deposit box. In either case, make copies of these documents and store the copies in a separate location from the originals, such as at a relative’s home. You may also wish to scan documents if you have access to a secure digital storage option.
To facilitate making insurance claims and/or claiming disaster loss tax deductions, individuals and businesses should maintain accurate inventories of their valuables. One simple way to document your possessions is to regularly take photos or videos around your home. Store the photos or videos securely, and include written notes like the year, make and model of key items.
Recovering from a disaster is always challenging. However, the right preparation can make the process a little simpler, and less stressful.