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Are you prepared? Make a plan to protect yourself in case of disaster

From the wildfires in California to the destructive swath left in the wake of Hurricane Ida, we’ve all been reminded of the raw power of nature. 

Victims affected by hurricanes, earthquakes, flash floods, tornados and wildfires can see their most beloved, sentimental items wiped out in the blink of an eye. They also can experience the loss of important documents related to their business, personal finances and more.  

That’s why it’s so important to be ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store by making sure you have a disaster preparedness plan. 

Any emergency plan needs to consider efforts to secure key documents, such as backing up your records electronically and maintaining an up-to-date record of your valuables. If you’re a business owner, be sure to also maintain current contact information for your employees and customers to ensure you can communicate with these groups in case your business is disrupted.  

Secure any key documents and make copies 

Be sure to place tax returns, birth certificates, deeds, titles, insurance policies and other important documents inside waterproof containers in a secure space. Keep copies of these documents handy, either by scanning them to your computer or flash drive or by having a trusted colleague, friend or family member who lives elsewhere store them. 

Document your valuables and equipment 

Current photos or videos of the contents of your home or business can help support claims for insurance or tax benefits after a disaster. All property, especially expensive and high value items, should be recorded.  

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, you might have to reconstruct certain records which were destroyed. This is crucial for obtaining federal assistance, an insurance reimbursement and your own taxes. Individuals can deduct losses on their personal tax return when there’s damage or destruction of their property caused by an unexpected event. It’s important, however, to make sure you submit any claim to your insurance provider in a timely fashion.  

Extensions are available 

Those impacted by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as those affected by the wildfires in California, Tropical Storm Fred in North Carolina, and severe storms and flooding in Tennessee have been given an extension on their filings, including:  

  • Victims in the state of Mississippi now have until Nov. 1, 2021 to file 2020 individual & business tax returns. 

  • Victims in the state of California now have until Nov. 15, 2021 to file 2020 individual and business tax returns. 

  • Victims in the state of North Carolina now have until Dec. 15 , 2021 to file 2020 individual and business tax returns. 

  • Victims in the state of Tennessee, parts of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania now have until Jan. 3, 2022, to file individual and business tax returns. 

  • Victims in the state Louisiana now have until Jan. 3, 2022, to file their 2020 individual and business tax returns, quarterly estimated tax payments, and quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. 

Make a plan with Padgett 

The rules around how to calculate a loss can be tricky and may differ depending on the type of property and extent of destruction, so having a trusted accounting and tax partner who you can turn to for advice is key. At PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES, our network of CPAs, enrolled agents and tax professionals is well-versed in these issues, and we’re here to help when you need it. Don’t wait for disaster to strike. Reach out today to an office near you and set up an appointment. 

Do you have the support you need to manage your small business bookkeeping? Contact us to schedule an appointment to speak with a local small business advisor.

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