When disaster strikes

People living in Maryland know the importance of being prepared for natural and man-made disasters. Despite one's best efforts, however, there is still often a flurry of activity as individuals and families attempt to reestablish their lives after life-changing devastation. One area that can become particularly challenging is the reconstruction of tax and financial records to prove losses.

If personal financial records have been destroyed or lost in a disaster, it is possible to put them back together. For example, one can order many tax documents directly from the IRS either online or over the phone. From there, taxpayers can contact lenders, financial institutions and insurance companies to obtain copies of other documents such as statements, invoices, and appraisals.

Mobile phone photographs are also helpful. Those who have sustained a loss can go through their photographs to find pictures of real estate or other property before it suffered damage. If they cannot find pictures of their damaged home or property, they may want to ask friends and family if they have any. Social media accounts may also contain pictures from family gatherings and events.

While gathering this documentation may seem time-consuming, having strong evidence of damage claims may be a good way to avoid being audited by the IRS. Given the stress that an individual could experience after a disaster, being proactive may be a good idea.

Individuals who are concerned about reconstructing tax records and making damage claims may benefit from speaking with a tax attorney. The lawyer could review the client's case, assist in obtaining necessary documents and, if required, represent the client in their dealings with the Internal Revenue Service.

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