LDR News Release – Protect tax records and financial documents during emergencies

BATON ROUGE – Protect tax records and financial documents from storms, floods, and other emergencies, the Louisiana Department of Revenue advises taxpayers.

 The 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season began on June 1.  The National Weather Service says there is a 65 percent chance of an above-normal season.  Early preparation is the key to making sure your family, property, and important personal records remain safe.

 Keep Documents Secure

 Water damage poses a particular threat to paper records.  In advance of a storm or flood, protect these documents by placing them in airtight containers and moving them out of harm’s way.

 Use Paperless Media

 Most bank statements and other financial documents are available as electronic records from your financial institution.  Preserve these data by burning them to CDs or saving them to portable memory drives. 

 Scan important paper records such as W-2s, payroll records, and tax returns into an electronic format.  Many commercially available home printers include easy-to-use scanning features.

 In addition, some web-based e-mail services such as Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s Hotmail offer free online document storage.  You can upload your electronic records directly from your home computer and download them again from any machine with Internet access.

 Document Valuables and Business Equipment

 Compile a room-by-room list of your belongings or business equipment.  Photograph or videotape the contents of your home or business, especially items of high value.

 Having a visual record of your valuables can provide proof for an insurance claim.  It can also help to verify a loss claim on state and federal tax returns.

 In the event of a disaster, the Department of Revenue can provide information on potential tax deductions or credits, filing extensions, and other tax-related matters.  Bookmark www.revenue.louisiana.gov as the source for state tax-related information.