Skip to main content

You are here


Practice Management

Prepare to Keep Vital Records Safe in a Disaster, IRS Reminds

John iekel

Taking action in advance to protect vital documents can be helpful when a disaster strikes, a principle that applies to retirement plans and administration as well as other records and functions. 

The IRS issued a reminder in Tax Tip 2023-107 about the importance of such steps on the heels of Hurricane Idalia’s travels through Florida and other parts of the southeast. 

The IRS reminds that: 

  • Federal tax return transcripts are available through the Get Transcript portal on They also are available by calling 800-908-9946 and following the prompts. 
  • People who use a tax professional to file taxes should keep their contact information in a safe place.
  • Financial statements are usually available online. 
  • Many property records are available online from tax assessors or other government agencies. 

The IRS also has provided additional suggestions that can help in preparing for an impending natural disaster: 

Take Advantage of Paperless Recordkeeping for Financial and Tax Records

  • Scan important tax records such as W-2s, tax returns and other paper documents onto an electronic format.
  • Back up electronic files and store them in a safe place. 
  • Make duplicates of files and documents and keep them in a separate.
  • Copy files onto a CD or DVD. 
  • When choosing a place to keep your important records, one should remember that a disaster that strikes one’s home is also likely to affect other facilities nearby, making quick retrieval of records difficult and maybe even impossible.

Check on Fiduciary Bonds

  • Employers that contract with payroll service providers should ask them if they have a fiduciary bond in place. 

Continuity of Operations Planning 

  • Develop an emergency plan, and review existing plans.
  • Back up your computer data systems regularly.
  • Decide how you will communicate with employees, customers and others.
  • Use cell phones, walkie-talkies, or other devices that do not rely on electricity as a backup to your telecommunications system.
  • Collect and assemble a disaster supplies kit. Include a portable generator.
  • Identify the community warning systems and evacuation routes.

Finding Out More

The IRS provides a variety of resources related to disaster preparedness including the following: