S.C. department warns to keep tax records safe in storms


Taxes are probably the last thing you want to think about during the threat of a hurricane, but the South Carolina Department of Revenue says you need to make sure your tax records are safe.

SCDOR shared these tips in a recent news release:

- 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 an external storage device, such as a flash drive or hard drive. 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' 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, such as a secure cloud storage service.

- If you're an employer, ask about fiduciary bonds. The IRS recommends that businesses that use payroll service providers should ask if the provider has a fiduciary bond in place. This bond can protect the business if the provider defaults.

- 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.

Most importantly, make sure you do these things to prepare before hazardous conditions approach. SCDOR and the IRS can provide copies of your previously filed returns. Learn more about emergency preparedness and how the department can help at dor.sc.gov/emergencies.

Connect with SCDOR on Facebook and Twitter to learn more and for the latest information on tax relief after natural disasters and other emergencies.