With Friday marking the official start of the hurricane season, the Internal Revenue Service is encouraging taxpayers to safeguard their records. Taking simple steps now can ensure that both individuals and businesses have protected financial and tax records in case of a hurricane, or other disaster.

“With forecasts calling for an active Atlantic hurricane season, the IRS encourages taxpayers to protect tax and financial documents that can be hard to replace,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Kevin M. Brown, in a statement.

Among the agency’s recordkeeping suggestions for individuals and businesses are:

  • Paperless recordkeeping;
  • Documenting valuables in advance;
  • Checking on fiduciary bonds (for employers who use payroll service providers); and,
  • Updating emergency plans.

If tax records are destroyed, a taxpayer can request a copy of a return and all attachments (including Form W-2) from the IRS, by submitting Form 4506, “Request for Copy of Tax Return.” An information return or transcript can be ordered by calling (800) 829-1040, or using Form 4506-T, “Request for Transcript of Tax Return.” Transcripts are available for the current year and returns processed in the three prior years.The agency’s Web site, www.IRS.gov, also contains more detailed information and resources.

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