Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

The county treasurer or assessor may have tax or assessment records. Some tax records are stored in museums, historical, and/or genealogical societies' repositories. Published tax records for Oklahoma are almost nonexistent. Some duplicated copies of county tax records are stored in the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, State Archives Division for security purposes, but are not available for research. [1]

State Level[edit | edit source]

Because of the lack of one source of locations for tax information, it can be helpful to call local county courthouses to see what tax records are available for research. Bradford Koplowitz, called Guide to the Historical Records of Oklahoma, by Bradford Koolowitz is also helpful. This indicates location of county records, including those of tax and assessments. Check on Worldcat for possible locations for this book, but it can also be bought on line.

Oklahoma Department of Libraries
Address: 200 NE 18th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Phone: (405) 521-2502
Oklahoma Department of Libraries

Archives and Records Link

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. [2]

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

What history has shown us is that while property taxes are locally levied, there is significant state involvement with the amount of tax local political subdivisions can levy, how property assessments are conducted, and what services local taxing subdivisions must provide for their residents. This comes at a cost to state taxpayers, because the state has obligations it must fund as well, with a limited amount of state tax dollars.

Due to flooding in 1902, Oklahoma realized that they needed better roads. A Road tax was instituted along with a requirement that all males between the ages of 21 and 45 donate four eight-hour days a year to work on highways. Those who did not work or provide a substitute were fined $5 for each absence. [3]

References[edit | edit source]