Posts tagged disaster
Try as we may, the one thing no one can control is the weather. When natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes and hurricanes occur, families and businesses can often feel overwhelmed when faced with rebuilding their lives. IRS wants to help.
Did you know that special tax law provisions may help you recover financially from the impact of a federally declared disaster?
If you have damaged or lost property in a location declared by the federal government as a major disaster area, you may be able to get some money back from the IRS right now.
Additionally, depending on your circumstances, the IRS may grant you more time to file your return and pay your taxes. You could get a faster refund by claiming losses related to a disaster on your tax return for the previous year, usually by filing an amended return.
Check out the Tax Relief in Disaster Situations webpage to learn more about the latest disaster relief information. This page has helpful tax relief information for those affected by a disaster such as the Mississippi River flooding this spring, along with the April and May tornadoes.
Remember, when natural disasters strike, the IRS is here to help you.
- Help for Individuals
- Help for Small Business Owners – Audio Presentations
- Continuity Planning and Other Tips to Stay in Business After a Major Disaster Audio
- Insurance Coverage and Other Emergency Planning Tips to Help Your Business Survive a Major Disaster Audio
- Recordkeeping and Reconstructing Business Records to Help Your Business Survive a Major Disaster Audio
- Disaster and Emergency Relief – Webinar Archive Video
IRS.gov in Spanish
IRS Forms and Publications
- Publication 3067, IRS Disaster Assistance
- Publication 1600, Disaster Losses — Help from the IRS
- Publication 547 – Casualties, Disasters and Thefts
- Publication 2194, Disaster Losses Kit for Individuals
One of our clients, 3Fold Communications, faced that very situation Thursday, October 21. A nonprofit client of theirs, River City Food Bank, based in Sacramento, CA, faced a devastating emergency. A fire destroyed the organization’s building and everything in it.
The food bank, which served nearly 750 people weekly, lost between 8,000-10,000 pounds of food in the fire. In addition, they lost office furniture, computers, and general supplies. This was a true disaster for an important service within the community.
But the community rallied to handle the problem. With the assistance of 3Fold, the organization got the word out about their invaluable services in need of serious help. They let the community know exactly what had happened, and that the monetary and non-perishable food donations were needed asap.
A number of Sacramento’s other food bank operators stepped in to temporarily ensure that River City’s clients get the assistance they need. One of the city’s biggest health care providers is giving them new temporary space to work in, larger than what they previously had. An office supply store is letting River City pick out new furniture for their administration offices. An insurance provider in the region stepped in with a donation of seven computers. And a number of other organizations, businesses and individuals responded generously with donations of food, money and gift cards.
All in less than twenty-four hours, proving communities can come together in amazing ways in times of crisis.
Would you do the same? Would you put your day, your work day, your entire business’s work day on hold if you could possibly help in a traumatic situation?
The latest piece from the New York Times in the growing genre of “Older workers finding it hard to get new jobs after a layoff” has triggered the predictable musings about whether we should raise the Social Security retirement age, and how to combat age discrimination. These are interesting debates, about which I hope to write more later. But the article is also a useful reminder about a more immediate issue: how people react when economic disaster hits.
The woman highlighted in the article, after all, is not going to be saved by Social Security; she’s 57. Without massive changes in spending, she’s headed for bankruptcy long before she’s eligible to collect benefits. That’s not to say that she’s a profligate spendthrift who deserves the pain she’s suffering; rather, the errors she’s made are incredibly common. That’s why it’s worth running through some of the most common mistakes that land people in these kinds of messes.
To read the rest of this article by Megan McArlde, which includes six ways to make this situation less devastating, please go to http://bit.ly/aj70xZ.
Test Your RQ
Are you ready to get ready?
From power outages to terrorist attacks . . . hurricanes or tornados . . . floods to fires . . . the most important message is simple: Be Prepared. Get Ready. Be Informed.
But how do you know if you are ready enough? How do you know that you’ve done all the right things to be prepared?
Take the RQ Test and find out.
RQ stands for Readiness Quotient . . .and was developed by a broad coalition of experts. Through rigorous testing and validation, experts agree these ten simple questions are actually the most predictive of an individual’s preparedness.
The RQ Test scores you on what you know and have already done to get prepared. It also provides you with the simple steps to take to improve your score and increase your preparedness.
Take the RQ Test now at http://bit.ly/am94BW.
On the right side of this page, http://bit.ly/9AAmm8, you’ll see links to additional RQ tests: Test Your Workplace RQ, Test Your School RQ, and Test Your Community RQ.
If you’re interested in the National Results, please go here: http://bit.ly/9viiSQ.
The IRS has the following disaster kits available through irs.gov:
Publication 2194 (PDF), Disaster Losses Kit for Individuals
Publication 2194-B (PDF), Disaster Losses Kit for Businesses contain tax forms and publications that assist the taxpayer to claim a casualty loss on property that was destroyed by a natural disaster.
When a Presidentially declared disaster occurs in predominately farm areas, Publication 225 (PDF), Farmers Tax Guide should also be made available.
The kit for individuals contains Publication 584 (PDF), Casualty, Disaster or Theft Loss Workbook (Personal Use Property) and the business kit contains Publication 584-B (PDF), Business Casualty, Disaster, or Theft Loss Workbook. Both are useful tools that can help the taxpayer compile a list of all personal and non-real estate items that were lost in the disaster.
Publication 1600 (PDF), Disaster Losses-Help from the IRS, is a tri-fold document that gives a brief description of the disaster relief and services available to disaster victims from the IRS. Publication 1600(SP) (PDF) is the Spanish language version of this document.
The Institute for Business & Home Safety has Open for Business: A Disaster Planning Toolkit for the Small to Mid-Sized Business Owner available for no charge.
Topics covered include:
- Safeguarding Your Investment
- Open for Business Self-Assessment
- What Is At Risk?
- Protecting Your Critical Resources
- Developing Your Business Continuity Plan
- Employee Contact List
- Key Supplier/Vendor Information
- Key Contacts
- Critical Business Functions
- Recovery Location
- Vital Records
- Critical Telephone Numbers
- Computer Equipment and Software
- Voice/Data Communications
- Miscellaneous Resources
- Disaster Response Checklist
- Incident Response, Recovery & Restoration Checklist
- Property Protection Checklist
- What About the Costs
You can find the toolkit here: http://bit.ly/dpADic
Do you have a plan for you or your family if a crisis occurs?
Imagine not being able to contact your friends or family members. How would you know if everyone was safe?
Does your family have a list of basic steps and information to follow?
A natural disaster or a family crisis could happen at any time. Because September is National Preparedness Month, the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJSCPA) suggests creating an emergency file, or a contingency plan, to lessen the anxiety of a crisis.
“Often, when an emergency happens, people can get stressed and make bad decisions just because they’re not thinking clearly,” says Carl Specht, CPA, a partner at the Costantino, Specht, Templeton & Co., LLC in Secaucus. “Wait. Try not to make any important financial decisions while you are still feeling the emotions of a major loss or tragedy.
“If you invest some time today in planning,” Specht says, “you will find that having a written strategy will help ease pressure and uncertainty in a time of stress.”
Develop a contingency plan binder.
When tragedy strikes, there is often no time to go through drawers, filing cabinets and shoe boxes looking for pertinent information. Those who bear responsibility for your affairs need the relevant material immediately. First, find a folder or binder with dividers and label each section.
Some ideas for sections in your notebook are:
- Action List
- Key Contacts
- Medical Notes
- Financial Accounts
- Business Interests
- Asset Inventory
- Funeral Instructions
- Estate Planning Documents
- Personal Items
To read the rest of this article, please go to http://bit.ly/b4VD7b.
From Ready.gov, http://bit.ly/d6hkK6
In addition to emergency planning, there are steps you can take to both safeguard your company and secure your physical assets.
- Insurance Coverage
Policies vary, meet with your provider to review current coverage.
- Utility Disruptions
Prepare for extended outages during and after a disaster.
- Facilities, Buildings & Plants
Take steps to secure physical assets.
Conduct a room-by-room walk-through to determine what needs to be secured.
- Building Air Protection
Assess the HVAC system to improve indoor air quality.
- Cyber Security
Protect your data and information technology systems.
From Ready.gov, http://bit.ly/9kuEJg:
Include people from all levels in emergency planning.
Practice the Plan
Drills and exercises will help you prepare.
Encourage your employees and their families to: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed.
Crisis Communication Plan
Detail how you will be in contact with employees, customers and others during and after a disaster.
People who have experienced a disaster may have special recovery needs.
Monday we will continue with “Protect Your Investment.”
From Ready.gov, http://bit.ly/aXdBbJ:
Business continuity planning must account for all hazards (both man-made and natural disasters). You should plan in advance to manage any emergency situation. Assess the situation, use common sense and available resources to take care of yourself, your co-workers and your business’s recovery.
- Be Informed
Know what kinds of emergencies might affect your company.
- Continuity Planning
Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally.
- Emergency Planning
Your employees and co-workers are your business’s most important and valuable asset.
- Emergency Supplies
Think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.
- Deciding to Stay or Go
Shelter-in-place or evacuate, plan for both possibilities.
- Fire Safety
Fire is the most common of all business disasters.
- Medical Emergencies
Take steps that give you the upper hand in responding to medical emergencies.
- Influenza Pandemic
The federal government, states, communities and industry are taking steps to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic.
For more information on business continuity, see these additional documents from FEMA. The National Continuity Program can be reached at FEMA-STTLContinuity@dhs.gov or by phone, at 1-202-646-4145.
Tomorrow we will continue with “Talk to Your People.”