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Texas 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 Texas[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

For Texas, tax records constitute one of the most complete sets of available records generated at the county level and maintained by the office of county tax assessor-collector. Tax records through 1980 are filed with the state comptroller of public accounts.

Texas had various years where depending on the age of a man, he may have been exempt from taxes. A list of years and ages follow. These lists may only include approximately sixty percent of eligible males over the age of twenty-one. Persons exempted from taxes included Native Americans and those exempted because of age. Age exemptions varied over time. Years without an older age exemption were 1840 and 1862-1870. Between 1841 and 1844, exemptions began at forty-five years; in 1845 and from 1850 to 1861 the upward age was set at fifty years. In 1837, 1848, and 1849 the limit was established as fifty-five, and in 1846 to 1847, and 1871 the upward limit was set at sixty years. [1]

Tax money bag.jpg

State Level[edit | edit source]

Texas Ad Valorem (poll, personal, and real property) tax records for 1836 through 1976 are available in microfilm at the Texas State Library from the date of respective county organization; these are arranged by county and date and are somewhat alphabetized within each division. Microfilm copies are housed in the Genealogy Section.

  • Tax lists for the various counties from creation to 1901 may be borrowed through inter-library loan.
  • Tax records through 1901 through 1947 are readily accessible, but not on inter-library loan.
  • Those for 1948 through 1976 can be obtained upon request.[2]

Lists for various counties have been published. Some statewide compilations include the following: Published tax records:

  • The Texas State Library and Archives website provides catalog access to its holdings in tax records at:

Texas State Library and Archives .
1201 Brazos St.
Austin, TX 78701
Tel: 512-463-5455

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 taxes were instituted on them. [4]

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

References[edit | edit source]

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