Tax records are not a first priority for those affected by natural disasters nor should they be. However, these records may be necessary to get federal assistance or insurance reimbursement. It is important for victims of a disaster to reconstruct their records to help prove and document their losses.
Here are some steps to help people reconstruct important records they may need as they begin to recover and rebuild.
* Get free tax return transcripts immediately using Get Transcript on IRS.gov.
* Order transcripts by calling 800-908-9946 and following the prompts.
* People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank.
* These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.
* Homeowners can get documents related to property by contacting the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
* Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
* Those who inherited property can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
* People with no records available should check the county assessor's office for old records that might address the value of the property.
* Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley's Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.