Reconstructing Tax Records After a Disaster

After a disaster, you might need to reconstruct records. This could help you prove your losses, which may be essential for tax purposes, getting federal assistance or insurance reimbursement.

Here are several things you can do to help reconstruct or get copies of specific types of records after a disaster:

Tax Return Transcripts

  • You can get free tax return transcripts by using the Get Transcript tool on You can also call 800-908-9946 to order them by phone.
  • If you had your tax return professionally prepared you may be able to obtain a copy from the tax preparer/preparation service.

Proof of loss

  • To establish the extent of the damage, you should take photographs or videos of affected property as soon as possible after the disaster.
  • You can look on your mobile phone for pictures that show the property before the disaster damaged it.
  • If you don’t have photographs or videos of your property, a simple method to help you remember what items you lost is to sketch pictures of each room that was affected.
  • You can support the valuation of property with photographs, videos, canceled checks, receipts, or other evidence.
  • If you bought items using a credit card or debit card, you should gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. If you didn’t keep these records or they were destroyed, statements may be available online or you can contact you financial institution.

Records about property

  • You can contact the title company, escrow company, or bank that handled the purchase of your home to get copies of appropriate documents.
  • If you made improvements to your home you should contact the contractors who did the work to see if records are available. If possible, you should get statements from the contractors to verify the work and cost. Youy can also get written accounts from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, you can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, you can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, you can check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • There are several resources that can help someone determine the current fair-market value of most cars on the road. These resources are all available online and at most libraries. They include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association, and Edmunds.

Do you Have a Federal Tax Issue You Need Help With?

The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – Low Income Taxpayer Clinic can consult with you to provide advice regarding your IRS tax issues, and/or potentially act on your behalf for FREE if you qualify for assistance (come to a clinic intake session)!


Jim Floyd is the Staff Enrolled Agent at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. As an Enrolled Agent, Jim is a federally-licensed tax practitioner with unlimited rights to represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service. This means he is unrestricted as to which taxpayers he can represent, what types of tax matters he can handle, and which IRS offices he can represent clients before. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards.

Jim is also a member of The American Society of Tax Problem Solvers (ASTPS), a non-profit professional association of practitioners that specialize in representing taxpayers before the IRS and other taxing authorities. Membership in ASTPS reflects commitment to excellence and high standards in taxpayer representation


Source: Internal Revenue Service