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Disaster or Evacuation Box   favorite = Favorite

"If you have a disaster box with your important papers, what happens if you can't get back into your home to retrieve it?"

Consider storing your vital data on a portable computer hard drive so you can grab it and go. Another option is using online cloud storage and sharing the password with a trusted family member or friend who can access the account in case of an emergency.

Note: The following remains a generally good list for a "Disaster or Evacuation Box" but should be implemented using storage on computer disk stored away from your residence.

However, if you don't take this advice and your documents are destroyed, there is one good place to start your reconstruction -- your tax return.

Evacuation Box

     The list below contains information and documents you will need for income tax and insurance purposes if you are the victim of a disaster.
     It is recommended that you assemble these items in an easy to carry box(es) so you will be better prepared if (or when) the next disaster strikes.

     1. Copies of the past four years' tax returns.  If you have a business, you should also include any business returns (such as corporate, sales tax, payroll, etc.).

     2. Copy of final escrow for home purchase if you own your home and a list of any major improvements to the home and their cost.

     3. Copies of important papers such as birth certificates, citizenship papers, social security cards, green cards, etc.

     4. Copies of driver's license(s) for all drivers in the family, car title and registration for all cars owned or leased by the family.

     5. A list of all current prescription medication including the name and strength of medication and the telephone numbers for family doctors and pharmacies.

     6. A notebook containing negatives of important family photos.

     7. Photos or a video tape of the inside and outside of the house; a copy of the photos or tape should also be in your safe deposit box.

     8. Copies of all insurance policies (home, life, auto).

     9. Important telephone numbers for family members, doctors, baby sitters, schools, work numbers, emergency numbers such as fire, police, ambulance (911 and local numbers) and the telephone number for an out of town contact (relative or friend).

     10. A list of investments, bank accounts, credit card numbers and other important account numbers with telephone numbers for each.  For example, the name, account number and broker who holds investments which might be needed for emergency money.

     IRS The Bottom Line
     Tax Practitioner Newsletter
     Internal Revenue Service 

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