05 Dec How to Recover Important Tax Documents after a Disaster
Whether it’s a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood, or a localized disaster like a house fire or burst pipe, these kinds of events can have an enormous impact on your home and your life. You’re left with an endless list of things to deal with, like filing a claim with insurance, getting the damages repaired, and more. Your tax documents are probably the furthest thing from your mind—until you need them. If your documents were damaged or destroyed, and you need those tax documents for any reason, there are a few options available to you.
Requesting Tax Return Transcripts
If you need a copy of your past tax returns to replace the documents lost in a flood or fire, there are several routes you can take:
- You can get instant digital copies of your transcripts for free using the IRS’s Get Transcript tool.
- Call 800-908-9946 and follow the automated prompts to order transcripts by phone.
- Fill out and mail in Form 4506 to request copies of your old returns by mail. You can write the appropriate disaster designation (e.g., “HURRICANE HARVEY”) across the top of the form in red letters to expedite the process and waive the normal fee.
Our accounting firm in Provo can also request copies of your transcripts for you, if we do not have them on file ourselves.
Recreating Business Tax Records
Unfortunately, recovering all of the records associated with your business is much more complicated than requesting copies of your old returns. Here are a few suggestions:
- Lost Inventories – The best way to recreate a list of lost inventories is to request copies of invoices from your suppliers. You should try to collect invoices dating back at least one calendar year.
- Income Information – Your business bank account will be your best source for recreating your business’s income information. Request copies of your bank statements; the deposits should closely mirror the business’s sales for the time period in question. You should also request copies of the previous year’s federal and state tax returns for your business. These will show you gross sales over a given period.
- Building Details – The layout and details of your business’s building can be an important factor, not only in filing your insurance claims, but in tax-related matters as well. Check mobile phones and other cameras for any pictures or videos taken of the buildings, equipment, and even the inventory. Ask your employees to check their personal devices as well. If you purchased a preexisting building, contact the broker for a copy of the purchase agreement; if it was a new construction, contact the contractor for the building’s plans.
While the loss of records may seem like a minor detail when compared to all of the other items that may have been lost in the disaster, recovering these records is an important matter that must be addressed sooner or later. We hope these tips will help to make the task a little easier for you as you try to recover from the loss of your property. And if you need any help in recovering or recreating your tax-related documents, please don’t hesitate to contact our accounting firm in Provo for assistance.