The IRS has released recommendations on how to protect sensitive documents in the event of severe weather. So far in 2023, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has declared disasters for mudslides, landslides, severe storms, tornadoes and more.

Original documents such as tax returns, Social Security cards, birth certificates and deeds should be placed inside a waterproof container in a safe space. The IRS encouraged individuals to also make copies of these important documents and store them in a secondary location such as a safe deposit box. In addition, scanned documents can be stored on a flash drive for easy portability.

All property, especially high-value items, should be recorded. A simple list with current photos or videos may also help support claims for insurance or tax benefits after a disaster. Reconstructing or replacing records after a disaster may be required for tax purposes, claiming federal assistance or insurance reimbursement. The more accurately the loss is estimated, the more loan and grant money there may be available.