Reconstructing Records after a Disaster

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Hi, I'm Kim, and I work for the IRS.

In this brief video, we'll give you a few tips on how to reconstruct your records after a disaster, and while it may not be easy, it will be essential for: tax purposes, insurance reimbursement, and applying for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration.

To assist with reconstructing tax records, request your federal tax-return information for the four previous years.

For exact copies of prior years' returns, file Form 4506, "Request for Copy of Tax Return," by mail with the IRS.

If the disaster was federally declared, write the appropriate disaster designation in red letters across the top of the forms to speed up processing and to waive the normal fee.

Find disaster designations in the Casualty Loss section of IRS news releases for federally declared disaster areas.

Go to the IRS.gov home page and click the Disaster Relief link for a listing of disaster-news releases.

If you only need a transcript of your tax account, file Form 4506-T, "Request for Transcripts of Tax Return," or visit IRS.gov and click "Order a Return or Account Transcript.”

You may also call toll-free at 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts in the recorded message.

There is no charge for transcripts, and you should receive them in 10 business days from the time we receive your request.

These forms will not provide your state or local tax information.

Contact your state or local tax agency for more information.

Here are some tips to help you reconstruct your records to prove loss of personal-use or business property.

For Personal Residence or Real Property take photographs to establish the extent of the damage.

Get records from the title company, escrow company, or bank that handled the purchase of your home.

Use your current property tax statement for land vs. building ratios.

You can get copies from the county assessor's office.

And contact your mortgage company about the cost or fair market value and records on appraisals performed on your property.

One of the best methods to reconstruct records of personal property is to draw pictures of each room showing placement of furniture and items stored on shelves and in drawers.

The following resources may be helpful in determining the value of items: old catalogs, local thrift stores, credit card receipts, new- and used-car pricing guides.

If you are a business owner, you may need to reconstruct records to claim your business losses after a disaster.

The following tips may help you with records for: Inventories - Get copies of invoices from suppliers dating back at least one year - Income - Get bank statements.

The deposits should closely reflect what the sales were for any given time period.

Furniture and fixtures - Sketch an outline of the inside and outside of the business location.

Fill in the details of equipment, products, and inventories.

Outside the building, list shrubs, parking, signs, awnings, et cetera.

You may also call the IRS Disaster Assistance Hotline, at 1-866-562-5227, for help, or visit our Website at www.IRS.gov, and enter the search word "Disaster" for more information about reconstructing records.