While Molly Hatchet was singing about a different type of disaster, if you’re flirtin’ with disaster there are steps you can take to reduce the potential impact of natural and man-made disasters.

Five years ago, on September 14, 2018 at 7:15AM, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Even though Florence had bounced back and forth from Tropical Depression to Category 4 and was a Category 1 hurricane when it hit the Carolina coast, the slow movement over the state resulted in hours and days of torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes.

The National Weather Service offices of Newport/Morehead City, Wilmington, and Raleigh have collaborated on a special report that notes that during its lingering visit to North Carolina from 5:00 a.m. September 14th to 5:00 a.m. September 16th 2018, Florence was responsible for:

  • 22 direct deaths and 30 indirect fatalities.
  • $22 BILLION in estimated total damage losses in North Carolina.
  • 70 consecutive hours of tornado watch for the Raleigh WFO area, 54 for Wilmington, and 93 hours for which some part of North Carolina was under tornado watch.
  • Over 2,000 road closures and over 900,000 utility customers in North Carolina that lost power.

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month – and even the IRS has a comprehensive disaster recovery and continuation plan, even covering the extreme level of a nuclear strike (or perhaps Zombie Apocalypse) on U.S. soil. The IRS plan is so detailed, that the Service will be back in operation within 12 days and back to full tax collection enforcement within 30 days.

And unfortunately, while the IRS has a robust disaster preparedness plan, if yours isn’t in place and IRS pulls your card for audit or collections, they won’t give a lot of leeway for missing records that may have been destroyed or lost due to a disaster like a hurricane, earthquake, or other unforeseen situation.

But even beyond that, you’ll also want to have good records to help with relief programs and insurance claims.

IRS Newswire issue IR-2023-161 has some recommendations, such as securing and duplicating key records and essential documents, creating lists of property (and, we would add, serial numbers), and maintaining a detailed inventory of the contents of your personal and business property by taking photos or videos and writing down descriptions including year, make, and model number if appropriate.

Here are some resources to help you with your disaster preparedness plan:

Ø  Cloud and local backup solutions – our sister firm, Marketwise Solutions LLC, is an authorized reseller of iDrive solutions. iDrive will continuously back up your important files and documents to both the cloud and to a local drive, giving you peace of mind that your digital files are backed up and you can recover from an unexpected event from hard drive failure to natural disaster.

https://www.idrive.com/p=marketwise

Ø  IRS has workbooks for personal and business Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss:

o   Publication 584-B for businesses https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p584b.pdf

o   Publication 584 for individuals https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p584.pdf

Ø  Information on reconstructing records after a natural disaster: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/reconstructing-records-after-a-natural-disaster-or-casualty-loss

Ø  Information on National Disaster Preparedness Month, and tips on how to help you, your family, and your neighbors be prepared: https://www.ready.gov/september

If you have any questions about disaster preparedness for your business, please contact us at info@bourbonnaistax.com.