9 Tips for Reconstructing Records after Hurricane Harvey

Taxpayers who are victims of a disaster might need to reconstruct records to prove their loss. Doing this may be essential for tax purposes, getting federal assistance, or an insurance reimbursement.

Here are nine things individual taxpayers can do to help reconstruct their records after a disaster:

  1. Taxpayers can get free tax return transcripts by using the Get Transcript tool on IRS.gov, or use their smartphone with the IRS2Go mobile phone app. They can also call (800) 908-9946 to order it by phone.
  2. To establish the extent of the damage, taxpayers should take photographs or videos as soon after the disaster as possible.
  3. If a taxpayer doesn’t have photographs or videos of their property, a simple method to help them remember what items they lost is to sketch pictures of each room that was impacted.
  4. If you lost your car, there are several resources that can help you determine the FMV before the loss. These resources are all available online or at the library: Kelley’s Blue Book, National Automobile Dealers Association, or Edmunds.
  5. Taxpayers can contact the title company, escrow company, or bank that handled the purchase of their home to get copies of their destroyed documents.
  6. If you bought furniture or appliances with your credit card, then you should contact your credit card company or bank for past statements.
  7. Homeowners should review their insurance policy as the policy usually lists the value of the building to establish a base amount for replacement and starting point for determining FMV before the loss.
  8. Absent that, you can go to the HCAD website for a record of the value of your property, both land and improvement.
  9. You can also support your loss with cancelled checks, credit card receipts, photographs on your phone, and videos.

I hope this helps!

Robert T. Stevenson, CPA

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