Preparing for a Disaster

floodedhomeSweltering heat and unpredictable storms have plagued the nation this year and show no signs of slowing down. Tornadoes have left barren war zones in place of flourishing small towns, and torrential rain has flooded the streets of our most popular metropolitan areas.

In the wake of recent weather, the importance of planning and preparing for a natural disaster has become paramount.

Having a plan in place will save you time and stress in case a disaster strikes.

Here’s what paperwork you should have handy in case of an emergency: 

  • financial statements and account numbers, including that of your emergency savings fund,
  • mortgage documents or rental/lease agreements,
  • copies of prescriptions for medications and key identification papers (driver’s licenses, passports, birth certificates, and Social Security cards),
  • updated homeowners, renters, and automobile insurance policies,
  • tax records.

Keep these documents safe, such as in a safe deposit box or a sealed plastic bag, and in close proximity. Receiving assistance after a natural disaster often requires the above paperwork or proof of identity. Disaster Assistance, a resource for disaster-stricken individuals, outlines how you can recover lost personal documents on its website.

Financial relief after a disaster may come in the form of amending a previous tax return to take advantage of tax breaks and casualty loss deductions. To accurately deduct repair and replacement costs, consult with a tax professional. Liberty Tax Service amends federal tax returns for casualty losses – at no charge. We have always offered these amendments for free, but we want to remind those who are facing astronomical hardships that we are here to help.

To find a local Liberty Tax office, contact us at 1-877-at-Liberty or visit our website. The Red Cross’ website also has more information on what you can do to prepare for possible disasters. To help those who have been affected by disasters or to see if you are in a tax relief area, check out the IRS website.

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