Disaster preparedness involves answering the question: How would a disaster affect your business? If you’re not sure, it’s time to start planning. Here’s a quick look at how you can prepare beforehand, and what relief might be available afterward.
BEFORE DISASTER STRIKES
Identify key issues. Bring together managers of key areas and brainstorm on the critical steps needed to recover from a disaster. Consider at least two scenarios: a company-specific event such as a fire that affects only your business, and a regional disaster that affects the whole area. Since you can’t anticipate every need, your goal is to identify key issues and make basic preparations.
Establish a communications protocol. Think about how you’ll communicate with employees, vendors, and customers. At a minimum, each manager should have a contact list for key employees. Include phone numbers and personal email addresses.
Backup company records. Identify essential company records and know how you’ll access them. Make sure backups of your electronic information are stored in a safe location off-site. You may also need paper backups of certain key information in case of a power blackout. Create a master list of federal, state, and city tax information, bank account passwords, account number and login information, and insurance policy numbers.
Review your insurance. Meet with your agent and review the scope and dollar limits of your coverage. Discuss business interruption insurance. Make sure you understand your coverage.
AFTER DISASTER STRIKES
Apply for relief assistance. Know the steps required to apply for insurance reimbursements and federal disaster loans or grants.
Take advantage of tax breaks. Your business may qualify for a casualty loss deduction. If you’re in a Presidentially declared disaster area, you have the option of claiming the deduction against your prior year’s taxes for a faster refund.
Other tax benefits include extended due dates and penalty relief. Contact us for tax advice on your specific situation.