It’s hurricane season, and depending on where you live, it’s a cause for preparation, or just another couple of months on the calendar. Well, no matter where you live, hurricane season is a great reason to safeguard all your important papers (and if you have a business, do it for the business too). My friend, CPA, Linda Hamilton offers the following tips:
Create a Backup Set of Records Electronically. Taxpayers should keep a set of backup records in a safe place. The backup should be stored away from the original set.
- Keeping a backup set of records – including, for example, bank statements, tax returns, insurance policies, etc. – is easier now that many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically, and much financial information is available on the Internet.
- You might also want to add copies of your passport, drivers licence, even credit cards.
- Even if the original records are provided only on paper, they can be scanned, which converts them to a digital format.
- Once documents are in electronic form, taxpayers can download them to a backup storage device, like an external hard drive, thumb drive, or burn them onto a CD or DVD.
- Taxpayers should consider online backup, which is the only way to ensure data is fully protected. With online backup, files are stored in another region of the country – so if a hurricane or other natural disaster occurs, documents remain safe (I use Carbonite).
- Document Valuables. Another step a taxpayer can take to prepare for disaster is to photograph or videotape the contents of his or her home, especially items of higher value. A photographic record can help prove the market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. Photos and videos should be stored with a friend or family member who lives outside the area, or can also be stored online. Putting the videos on YouTube, is probably not a great idea…
- Update Emergency Plans. Emergency plans should be reviewed annually. Personal and business situations change over time, as do preparedness needs.
- Don’t put it off. The next rainy day, is a good day to do it.
And don’t forget this week’s Blogging Boomers Carnival. Where else can you get info on everything from PSA tests to why you should be on LinkedIn?