Dept. of Revenue offers tips to protect financial records during severe weather

Photo: Toby M. Valadie / U.S. Air National Guard / MGN

BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) – With tropical storm warnings in effect along the Louisiana coast, the state Department of Revenue is encouraging taxpayers to protect their vital financial records from potential flood damage and other weather-related threats.

“A few simple steps can help to minimize hardship and confusion in the aftermath of a storm,” Secretary of Revenue Kimberly Lewis Robinson said. “There is no substitute for being prepared.”

LDR officials offers these tips to help you prepare:

Keep documents secure

Paper records are especially vulnerable to water damage. Protect these documents by placing them in airtight plastic containers or zip closure bags, and moving them out of harm’s way.

Use paperless media

Bank statements and other financial documents are available as electronic records from your financial institution. Preserve these records by saving them to portable memory drives or burning them to CDs. Store them in airtight containers.

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

Web-based email services such as Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Hotmail offer account holders free online data storage. You can upload electronic records from your home computer and retrieve them later from any device with internet access. This can be helpful if you are evacuated from your home.

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 case of a disaster, the Department of Revenue will provide information on potential tax deductions or credits, filing extensions and other tax-related matters. Bookmark www.revenue.louisiana.gov on your computer or save it to the home screen of your mobile device. Follow @larevenue on Twitter for information updates in real time.

Get a Game Plan

If you have to leave your home to escape severe weather, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness recommends you bring the following documents with you in a portable, waterproof container:

  • Driver’s license or personal identification
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of residence (deed or lease)
  • Insurance policies
  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Stocks, bonds and other negotiable certificates
  • Wills, deeds, and copies of recent tax returns

Visit www.getagameplan.org for more information.

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