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ITG FAQ #4 Answer-What if my records are lost or destroyed?

Every effort should be made to find lost records, or partial records that may have "survived" a disaster. If partial records are recovered, they are the best place to begin a reconstruction.

A reconstruction of records is best approached in reverse order. In other words, begin with the end of the year and work backward. The following steps may be helpful in the reconstruction process:

  1. Determine exactly what has been lost.
  2. Determine if you lost the only copy of an item.
  3. For those items where you lost the only copy, rank the relative importance of the lost items, starting with those of highest importance.
  4. Make a list of the items you determine warrant the time and
    expense of reconstruction.
  5. Determine if there is a state, federal, or other agency from which you can request a copy of a lost report. For instance, from the Internal Revenue Service, you can request either a transcript of a filed return, or a photocopy of a filed return. Either can be certified as an actual copy and can take the place of your copy of a lost return. Transcripts are available at no cost.
  6. For items of public record, contact your local courthouse for a copy.
  7. For bank records, contact your bank. It could be expensive to get copies of canceled checks, but they are available.

You will want to evaluate the need for the records in relation to the cost of reconstruction.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 11-Oct-2016