IRS Urges Preparedness for Natural Disasters

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Big Island Now stock photo: Hurricane Irene, International Space Station, 2011.

In light of National Hurricane Preparedness Week running from May 6 to 12, the IRS is reminding taxpayers that may be impacted by hurricanes and other natural disasters to be prepared.

The agency provides a toll-free hotline to help people in federally-declared disaster areas. Those affected can call 1-866-562-5227 and speak with a specialist trained to handle disaster-related issues.

The IRS recommends that taxpayers take the following precautions to prepare for a natural disaster:

  • Update emergency plans once every year.
  • Create electronic copies of important documents including bank statements, tax returns and insurance policies.
  • Document valuables through photo and video, especially high-value items, to expedite insurance claims and tax benefits should a disaster strike. The IRS has a disaster-loss workbook, Publication 584, to help taxpayers compile a room-by-room list of belongings.
  • Check on fiduciary bonds. Employers who use payroll service providers if it has a fiduciary bond in place, which can protect the employer in the event the service provider defaults on payment.

The IRS provides back copies of previously filed tax returns and attachments including W-2s. Back copies can be requested by completing a Request for Copy of Tax Return form. Alternatively, transcripts showing most line items on these returns can be ordered through the Get Transcript link on, by calling 1-800-908-9946, or by using the Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript, or Request for Transcript of Tax Return form.

More hurricane preparedness tips and information about Hurricane Preparedness Week are available at the National Weather Service.


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