BATON ROUGE – The time to protect your tax records and financial documents is now, not when a major storm is already taking aim at the Gulf Coast. The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) reminds individual taxpayers and business owners to make preparations sooner, rather than later.
Methods for protecting financial information include:
Most bank statements and other financial documents are available as electronic records from your financial institution. Backing these data up by burning them to CDs or saving them to portable memory drives is a cost-effective way to protect your information in the event of a natural disaster.
It is also a good idea to scan important tax records such as W-2s and other pay information, tax returns, and other paper documents into an electronic format. Many commercially available home printers are available with easy-to-use scanning features.
In addition, some web-based e-mail services, such as Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s Hotmail, offer online document storage. Check with your service to see what storage options might be available.
Document Valuables and Business Equipment
Compile a room-by-room list of your belongings or business equipment. This will help you verify the market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. Photograph or videotape the contents of your home or business, especially items of high value.
Having a record of your valuables can provide proof for an insurance claim. It will also help you remember what you might be able to claim as a loss on state and federal taxes.
You should store photos or videos on CDs, DVDs, or portable memory drives in a safe location away from the area at risk.
Count on the Louisiana Department of Revenue
In the event of a disaster – and well after – the Louisiana Department of Revenue can provide information on potential tax deductions or credits, business disaster assistance, calculating losses, and other tax-related matters. Check LDR’s website, www.revenue.louisiana.gov, for news about disaster-related tax matters. As a top priority after a disaster, LDR will update forms and offer explanations of loss-relief programs.