What to do after a natural disaster to reconstruct your tax records


The official hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin (the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico) is from 1 June to 30 November.   The peak of the season is from mid-August to late October. However, deadly hurricanes can occur anytime in the hurricane season.

Take a moment now to know what do to reconstruct your records if disaster strikes.

(On a side note: As part of our disaster recovery plan, Hampton Roads Accounting has three (3) full backups of all client data, safely stored away from our office.  In case a disaster ever strikes, your information is safe, available, and we will be operational and ready to help you in just a few days.)

After a natural disaster, taxpayers may need records to help them prove their disaster-related losses. This may be for tax purposes, getting federal assistance or insurance reimbursement.

In many cases, these records may have been destroyed in the disaster. However, not all hope is lost as people can often reconstruct records or get copies of important documents after a disaster.

Tax return transcripts

Taxpayers can get free tax return transcripts by using Get Transcript on IRS.gov. They can also call 800-908-9946 to order them.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. This helps if they bought items using a credit or debit card. If paper records were destroyed, statements may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get hard copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get copies of documents related to property, home owners can contact the title company, escrow company, or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements should get in touch with the contractors who did the work. They can ask the contractor for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, the taxpayer can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, taxpayers can check the county assessor's office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley's Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Other Resources

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