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After Disaster Strikes, Copies of Important Records Can Help People Rebuild Their Lives

by IRS

Aug 18, 2022

Picking up the pieces after a natural disaster can be challenging. Fire or flood may have destroyed personal and financial records, including records needed to recover disaster-related losses. People may need documentation for tax purposes, federal assistance programs or insurance claims.

While personal or business property may have been destroyed, all hope is not lost. Here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

  • Get free tax return transcripts immediately using Get Transcript on IRS.gov.
  • Order transcripts by calling 800-908-9946 and following the prompts.

Financial statements
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.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact 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.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people 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.

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