With the height of South Carolina’s hurricane season approaching, the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) offers tips to help you keep your tax records safe in the event of an emergency.
• Use paperless recordkeeping. Scan paper documents to save electronic copies, and back up your computer often. Keep electronic copies of tax records, bank statements, W2s, home-closing statements, and insurance records. Consider keeping backup copies on a secure cloud storage service or an external storage device, like a flash drive or hard drive that’s encrypted. Store these duplicates in a safe place, like a waterproof container at a trusted relative’s home or in a safe deposit box. Don’t choose your safe storage spot only out of convenience – if a disaster strikes your home or business, it will likely affect the surrounding area.
• File online. Filing online is faster and more accurate – and it ensures returns are protected from a natural disaster. Store passwords and information needed to access returns in a safe place, like a secure password manager.
• Keep a visual record of your property. Photos or videos of your home or business’s contents before a disaster can help support any claim of loss on a tax return or with insurance. Store the photos or videos in a safe place, like a secure cloud storage service.
• Keep your emergency plans updated. Your plans should include where to seek shelter from all types of emergencies and how you’ll communicate with employees, customers, and family. Always have an emergency supply kit ready during hurricane season and make sure you know your evacuation routes. Check out the SC Emergency Manager app from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) to get started with your plans.
Most importantly, make sure you do these things to prepare before hazardous conditions approach. If the worst happens, the SCDOR and the IRS can provide copies of your previously filed returns, provided the returns are within our retention schedules.
Learn more about emergency preparedness at dor.sc.gov/emergencies.