Taxpayers Should Be Prepared for Natural Disasters

With hurricane season underway, it’s a good idea for taxpayers to think about what they can do to be prepared should a hurricane or other natural disaster strike where they live. Here are a few helpful tips for taxpayers to keep in mind.

The IRS can help
In the case of a federally declared disaster, taxpayers can call 866-562-5227 to speak with an IRS specialist trained to handle disaster-related issues.

Get a copy of a tax return
Taxpayers who need a copy of their prior-year tax return have several options. If they:

  • Went to a paid preparer, they might be able to get a copy of last year’s tax return from that preparer.
  • Used the same tax preparation software this year that they used last year, that software will likely have their prior-year tax return.
  • Didn’t use the same tax preparation software this year, they may be able to return to their prior-year software and view an electronic copy of that return.

Get a Transcript
Taxpayers who are unable to access prior-year tax return using the above methods can get a copy of their transcript by going to IRS.gov and using the Get Transcript application. By selecting “Get Transcript Online,” the taxpayer can immediately view, print or download their transcript. If they prefer to have a copy sent to the address that the IRS has on file, they can select “Get Transcript by Mail.” They should receive their transcript in the mail in five to 10 days from the time the IRS receives their request online.

Update emergency plans
Because a disaster can strike any time, taxpayers should review emergency plans annually. Personal and business situations change over time, as do preparedness needs. When employers hire new employees or when a company or organization changes functions, they should update plans accordingly. They should also tell employees about the changes.

Individuals and businesses should make plans ahead of time and be sure to practice them.

Create electronic copies of key documents
Taxpayers should keep a duplicate set of key documents in a safe place, such as in a waterproof container and away from the original set. Key documents includes bank statements, tax returns, identification documents and insurance policies.

Doing so is easier now that many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically, and financial information is available on the Internet. Even if the original documents are provided only on paper, these can be scanned into a computer. This way, the taxpayer can download them to a storage device like an external hard drive or USB flash drive.

Document valuables
It’s a good idea for a taxpayer to photograph or videotape the contents of their home, especially items of higher value. Documenting these items ahead of time will make it easier to claim any available insurance and tax benefits after the disaster strikes.

No Author Biography has been linked to this Article.

Related Articles

October 4, 2020
By Lawrence R. Ahern III, Brown & Ahern (Nashville, TN) PART IV – INTRODUCTION TO CONSUMER FORECLOSURE PROCEDURES 2020 portends a flood of bankruptcy filings. In the consumer bankruptcies, trustees and debtors' counsel often are uncomfortable with the rules in Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). In this space, we have looked at topics involving the interplay of...
Members
August 22, 2021
By Henry E. Hildebrand, III, Chapter 13 Standing Trustee (Nashville, TN) While the best interests of creditors test is applicable upon modification of a Chapter 13 plan, post-petition acquired property of the estate is not included in such analysis in that such property would not be property of a Chapter 7 estate. (Somers) In re Taylor, 2021 WL 3118824 (Bankr....
Members
October 27, 2019
By The Honorable William Houston Brown (Retired) Debtor could cure default beyond 60 months. Agreeing with In re Klaas, 858 F.3d 820 (3d Cir. 2017), bankruptcy court had discretion to permit debtors to cure plan default, allowing a reasonable grace period beyond the 60 months of confirmed plan. Dismissal of the case for plan default was not required under §...
Members
April 18, 2021
Bankruptcy Courts Grapple with the “COVID-19 Discharge” APPENDIX B Side-by-Side Comparison of 11 U.S.C. § 1328(b)-(i) and 11 U.S.C. § 1141(d)(5)(B)-(C) 11 U.S.C. § 1328(b)-(i) Discharge 11 U.S.C. § 1141(d)(5)(B)-(C) Effect of Confirmation (b) Subject to subsection (d), at any time after the confirmation of the plan and after notice and a hearing, the court may grant a discharge ....
Members
November 10, 2019
By C. Kenneth Still, Standing Chapter 13 Trustee for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Retired (1968-2015) January 2, 1968, my first day as Trustee for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Southern and Winchester Divisions. I really didn’t know what I was doing or why I wanted the appointment. But there I was, duly appointed and ready to go but where...
Members
November 24, 2019
By Henry E. Hildebrand, III, Chapter 13 Standing Trustee (Nashville, TN) One of the most confusing elements in consumer bankruptcy practice is the effect of electing the option given in § 1325(a)(5)(C) or § 521(a)(2). Section 521(a)(2) requires every debtor to file a statement of intent that indicates whether the debtor intends to “surrender or retain” estate property which secured...
Members
johnmclean
May 5, 2024
When a person sells goods for the account of the owner and thereafter does not pay the owner, is the debt discharged under the bankruptcy law at the time? Yep.
Members
August 11, 2019
By Selwyn D. Whitehead, Esq. Because inquiring minds need to know; below is a discussion of the Johnson Publishing Company, LLC’s Chapter 7 Liquidation Bankruptcy, Case No. 19-10236, which was filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division in Chicago on April 9, 2019, and its week-long auction from July 22-24, 2019. Here's...
Members
March 3, 2019
By Carri Hayden Johnson, Staff Attorney to O. Byron Meredith, Chapter 13 Trustee (Savannah, GA) The filing of a bankruptcy petition acts as a stay of certain actions against the debtor or the debtor’s property. The automatic stay is essentially the fundamental reason that a debtor seeks relief in the form of bankruptcy, as it allows the debtor a brief...
Members
chiefjusticemarshall
March 31, 2024
Launching a new feature - Supreme Court Corner - Jon Hayes will periodically share a look at a historical bankruptcy case. As the title indicates, Sturges v. Crowninshield looks at state bankruptcy law in the absence of federal law.
Members

Looking to Become a Member?

ConsiderChapter13.org offers a forum to advance continuing education of consumer bankruptcy via access to insightful articles, informative webinars, and the latest industry news. Join now to benefit from expert resources and stay informed.

Webinars

These informative sessions are led by industry experts and cover a range of consumer bankruptcy topics.

Member Articles

Written by industry experts, these articles provide in-depth analysis and practical guidance on consumer bankruptcy topics.

Industry News

The Academy is the go-to source for the latest news and analysis in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy industry.

To get started, please let us know which of these best fits your current position: