Is your credit union’s preparedness plan up to date?

While credit unions impacted by Hurricane Ida are working to assess damage to their operations, the IRS also announced on Monday that September is National Preparedness Month.

“All taxpayers, from individuals to organizations and businesses, should take time now to create or update their emergency plans,” the IRS said in a statement on Tuesday.

Taxpayers can begin getting ready for a disaster with a preparedness plan that includes securing and duplicating essential tax and financial documents, creating lists of property and knowing where to find information once a disaster has occurred, the IRS stated. Securing this information can help in the aftermath of a disaster, and it can help people more quickly take advantage of disaster relief available from the IRS, according to the agency.

The IRS provided the following tips for organizations and individuals to consider when preparing emergency preparedness plans:

  • Start secure. Taxpayers should keep critical original documents inside waterproof containers in a secure space. Documents such as tax returns, birth certificates, deeds, titles and insurance policies should also be duplicated and kept with a trusted person outside the area a natural disaster may affect.
  • Make copies. If original documents are available only on paper, taxpayers can use a scanner and save them on a USB flash drive, CD or in the cloud, which provide security and easy portability.
  • Document valuables. After a disaster hits, photographs and videos of a home or business’s contents can help support claims for insurance or tax benefits. All property, especially expensive and high- value items, should be recorded. The IRS disaster-loss workbooks can help individuals and businesses compile lists of belongings or business equipment.
  • Employer fiduciary bonds. Employers using payroll service providers should check if their provider has a fiduciary bond in place to protect the employer in the event of a default by provider. Employers are encouraged to create an Electronic Federal Tax Payment System account at EFTPS.gov to monitor their payroll tax deposits and receive email alerts.
  • Know where to go. Reconstructing records after a disaster may be required for tax purposes, getting federal assistance or insurance reimbursement. Find out if financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically. Taxpayers who have lost some or all of their records during a disaster should visit the IRS Reconstructing Records webpage.

This week, the NCUA also urged credit unions to perform periodic routine reviews of their disaster preparedness and response plans. Credit unions can access additional disaster planning, response and contingency plan resources on the NCUA website.

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