disaster-preparationSomewhere in the US a disaster hits. They can be as widespread as a mighty earthquake or tsunami, or more local like an unexpected tornado ripping through a city block. As a result, we need to remind ourselves it is important to backup records in case a disaster comes our way. Without a disaster plan in place, you could face confusion, high levels of stress, or even financial ruin. The following information will show you how to backup your records so you can be prepared in case disaster strikes. Document Your Valuables Annually, go room-to-room in your home or business and document each item. Include the value and condition of each item. Here are some methods you can use to document items: 1. Take photos of items. 2. Video record items. 3. Document on paper the items. 4. Input item information into a software program, such as Word or Excel. Backup Your Records Electronically One of the best and easiest ways to safe-keep your records is to make sure everything is in electronic form. Consider scanning paper documents, photos, and receipts into electronic format. Once all records are in electronic format, you can make copies that you can use for your backup. Backup copies on an external hard drive, CD or DVD, flash drive, or an online storage service. Remember once you have converted your documents to electronic format, do not automatically assume to dispose of them. Certain documents, such as birth certificates, preferably should be kept in its original paper format. Store Records in a Safe Area Store records in a secure and remote place, preferably away from the town you are in. Consider family members that are willing to assisting you (and you can also return the favor for them too). Another option is storing electronic information using an online storage service. There are several companies that offer this service at a very reasonable cost. Have peace of mind that your tax returns are stored safely and securely at Taxbrain, with our “Safe Keeping” option. Access and print your tax returns 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, wherever you are. Not using Taxbrain yet? Create a free account today and rest assured your personal information is safe. Vincent Mangiapane, EA Federal Analyst, Taxbrain