Rebuilding Tax Records After a Disaster

The United States has experienced a number of disasters this year that have taken homes, businesses, and vehicles. Hurricanes, storms, and wild fires have cost a number of people their homes and businesses. Here’s how you can help yourself rebuild the documents necessary for your tax return.

Get Transcripts

Taxpayers can get free tax return transcripts by using the Get Transcript tool on, with the smart phone app IRS2GO, or by calling 1-800-908-9946.

Create a Visual Record

To establish the extent of the damage, taxpayers should take photographs or videos as soon after the disaster as possible.

Reach Out to Financial Institutions

Taxpayers can contact the title company, escrow company, or bank that handled the purchase of their home to get copies of the appropriate documents.

Check Insurance

Homeowners should review their insurance policies, as the policy usually lists the value of a building to establish a base figure for replacements.

Talk to Contractors

Taxpayers who made improvements to their home should contact the contractors who did the work to see if records are available. They can also get written accounts from friends or relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.

Ask the Courts

For inherited property taxpayers can check court records for probate values. When no records are available, taxpayers can check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.

Look for Independent Sources

There are several resources that can help someone determine the current fair market value of most cars on the road. These resources are available online as well as at most libraries.

Kelley’s Blue Book

National Automobile Dealers Association


Check Your Phone

Taxpayers can look on their mobile phones for pictures that show damaged property before the disaster. Taxpayers can support the valuation of property with photos, videos, cancelled checks, receipts, or other evidence.

It’s in the Cards

If the taxpayer bought items using a credit card, they should contact their credit card company or bank for past statements.

Not as Sketchy as it Sounds

If a taxpayer doesn’t have photos 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.