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New York Taxation

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Why Use Tax Records[edit | edit source]

By studying several consecutive years of tax records you may determine when a young men came of age, when individuals moved in and out of a home, or when they died leaving heirs. Authorities determined wealth (real estate, or income) to be taxed. Taxes can be for polls, real and personal estate, or schools.

Tax record content varies and may include the name and residence of the taxpayer, description of the real estate, name of original purchaser, description of personal property, number of males over 21, number of school children, slaves, and farm animals. Tax records usually are arranged by date and locality and are not normally indexed. Tax records can be used in place of missing land and census records to locate a person’s residence.

How to Use Tax Records for New York[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

Dollarhide, William and Gordon Lewis Remington. New York State Censuses and Substitutes: An Annotated Bibliography of State Censuses, Census Substitutes, and Selected Name Lists in Print, on Microform, or Online; with County Boundary Maps, 1683-1915; and State Census Examples and Extraction Forms, 1825-1925, (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Creations, 2005) - a county by county listing citing many tax lists that are hidden in books and periodicals. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 974.7 X23d.

Many early New York tax lists, including burgher and freemen lists, exist back to about 1675. Tax records can substitute for census records as tools to locate where a family lived. The Family History Library has tax lists from the early 1700s for Dutchess County, New York City, and some other areas. The state archives has tax lists for the 1770s and 1780s, and Tax Assessment Rolls of Real Estate and Personal Estates for 1799–1804. These are based on the Federal Direct Tax of 1798 and list all males over the age of 21. They are arranged by county, year, and town and are based on the Federal Direct Tax of 1798. They list all males over the age of 21. Tax lists from about 1850–1870 are filed in town clerk and county treasurers' offices, but they are not available on microfilm. The New York 1798 direct tax lists have not been located.


State Level[edit | edit source]

  • 1862-1874 - Assessment lists of the Bureau of Internal Revenue for Districts and Units two places to look, there are 32 districts (too many to list here:

1. A guide for all counties pages 5 and 6 or
2. Scroll down to find Districts Districts listed on left, and click on camera to right and open

  • 1862–1917 - The National Archives Northeast Region (Boston) has assessment lists for New York, 1862–1917. These lists generally contain the names of the taxpayers (individuals and corporations), city of residence, articles or occupations taxed, and the amounts assessed and collected. Taxes during the Civil War were gradually abolished until only taxes on liquor and tobacco remained in 1883. Corporate income taxes began in 1909. A draft inventory of these records is available on microfiche from the archives.

National Archives Northeast Region (Boston)
Located in the Frederick C. Murphy Federal Center Address: 380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, Massachusetts 02452
Phone: Toll Free Telephone: (866) 406-2379
Phone: Telephone: (781) 663-0144
E-mail: waltham.archives@nara.gov

New York State Archives
Address: 222 Madison Ave
Albany, NY 12230
Phone: (518) 474-8955
e-mail: archref@nysed.gov


The National Archives and Records Administration National Archives (Washington, D.C.)
National Archives in Washington, D.C. (Archives I)
National Archives Building—Research Entrance
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Phone: 866-272-6272


Published books:

  • 1700's - Some tax lists for the 1700s have been published in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. (address listed below) Some early New York City lists are in New York Historical Society, Tax Lists of the City of New York, December 1695 to July 15, 1699, in the series Collections of the New York Historical Society, Volume 43–44 (New York, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1911–12.) FHL Film 845302 item 3–4 and FHL Book 974.7 B4n v. 43–44. Not Digitized check with WorldCat for other locations for this book


The NYGB Newsletter - "New York Genealogical And New York Genealogical and Biographical Society" Publications dealing with Tax lists. (these can be found at various locations WorldCat to view threw the Society you must be a member)

New York Genealogical & Biographical Society
Address: 36 W 44th St 7th Floor
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 755-8532

  • The NYGB Newsletter and The New York Researcher Select “Research Aid Articles” from The NYGB Newsletter and The New York Researcher are available to members of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society on the Society’s Website. Many of these articles have been updated since their original publication in the paper newsletter.
Tax money bag.jpg

Tax Laws[edit | edit source]

Abraham Lincoln instituted the income tax in 1862, and on July 1, 1862, Congress passed the Internal Revenue Act, creating the Bureau of Internal Revenue (later renamed to the Internal Revenue Service). This act was intended to “provide Internal Revenue to support the Government and to pay interest on the Public Debt.” Instituted in the height of the Civil War, the “Public Debt” at the time primarily consisted of war expenses. For the Southern States that were part of the Confederate side of the Civil War, once Union troops took over parts of the Southern States, income tax were instituted on them. [1]

  • To learn more about this Collection click here
  • To learn more about the Civil War taxes click here


References[edit | edit source]