We have entered the dreaded “hurricane season” and, while the sky and sea remain clear, we must think ahead and make plans.
Thus far, the eastern North Carolina area where we live has been relatively free of a major storm in the past few years.
So, why is a tax accountant giving insights on hurricane preparedness? Because 1) tax laws have changed that may affect you and 2) it’s always great to have a reminder or two handy.
We have heard and read many times about getting prepared for a major storm by buying water, etc. but there are a few more handy tips you should know:
Karen S. Durda, EA, President of Century Accounting and Tax Services, Inc., has been in the profession since 1984. As an Enrolled Agent credentialed by the Treasury Department, she has the rights as afforded by Congress to represent individuals and businesses before tax authorities. Since May 2012, she has also had the distinction of being a Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider, assisting in budgeting and financial peace for a four-county area and parts of Myrtle Beach.As a Qualified Business expert with the New Hanover County courts, she has experience and knowledge of various scopes of professions and industries, such as medical, health services, legal, construction, retail, real estate, auto sales and service, insurance and restaurant. Continuous tax law courses throughout the year keep her up-to-date on all tax rules, regulations and law changes, as well as business trends, to better serve her clients.
- Use your dishwasher (without the dishes, of course) to hold valuable papers.
- Make a list of your important insurance policy numbers. If there is no electricity you may not have a charger for your phone.
- In the past, any losses not covered by a storm or other unintended incident may have been filed to reduce your taxes if the loss was great. Due to the new tax laws taking effect this year, casualty thefts and other losses have gone away as a tax deduction.
- There will be many scams that pop up immediately following a storm. Be aware that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Shady contractors, charities, loans, job listings and rental listings for non-existent properties are just a few of the opportunities that arise.
- If you feel that your identity was stolen, you need to contact the IRS, as well as credit card companies, banks and the Social Security Administration. The IRS has a form that must be submitted (14039 Identity Theft Affidavit) and they will send you a secure PIN to use when filing your tax returns, so that you can have no problem identifying to them that it is truly you.