Utah Taxation

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

  • 1865–1915- Utah County. Assessment rolls: 1865–1915 These records are grouped mostly by geographic area. In addition to property taxes, they may include sheep tax, businesses, corporations, school tax records, mine proceeds, and copies of published delinquency notices. (digitized films click on camera to open)

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.

Tax records are an important supplement to census and land records. They provide useful information like the description of land and property holdings. County property, county inheritance, city tax, and an early collection of federal tax records are the most commonly used tax records for family history research in Utah.

How to Use Tax Records for Utah[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

Some early tax records have been published as part of a state census (see Census Records for Utah). Microfilm copies of manuscript transcripts of crop records, school assessments, and property assessment are available for many counties on microfilm through the Utah State Archives and the FHL.[1]

County Property Tax Records These records begin as early as the 1850s in some counties and continue to the present. Property tax records usually list a brief description of the property, its value, and the tax assessed. To locate these records, you may contact the office of the county treasurer or the Utah State Archives. Also, county assessors and county clerks may have tax records.

Tax sale records are created when a taxpayer is delinquent in paying his property taxes. These records begin by at least the 1870s and are found in either the county treasurer's office or the Utah State Archives.

Tax abatement records exist from the territorial period to the present. These list the names of individuals seeking a tax deferment. They list the reason for the request, such as a physical disability or an inability to pay. They may also list the names of relatives or guardians. To locate these records contact the county auditor's office or the Utah State Archives. Territorial records are often found in the records of the county court.

Inheritance tax and lien records are found in state district court records located either in a county clerk's office or the Utah State Archives. The library has a few records. For Cache County see:

  • District Court (Cache County) Inheritance Tax, 1905–Apr. 1966. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1966. Family History Library films 431095–96+++. An index is at the beginning of each section and is followed by the records. Names, addresses, and relationships to the deceased are included. The records give the name of the estate, then the executor, administrator, trustee, or grantee. If there was a will, you will find the volume and page number you will need to locate the will in the probate records.

To find other county records, highlight Search on the top of this page, click on Catalog, enter United States Utah (then the county you want, scroll down to taxes, click for a drop down list of possibilities.

State Level[edit | edit source]

Federal Tax Records (1862, 1867-69) The Utah State Archives and the Family History Library have a copy of the Utah Territory assessment book for 1862, and 1867-1869. See:

  • 1862, 1867-69- United States Internal Revenue Service. Assessment Book Division No. 1, for the Territory of Utah 1862, 1867. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1956. (Family History Library;film 25780.) This is not Digitized or indexed, so searches have to be done at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The record provides the name of the head of household, how much the property is valued, and how much tax was paid.

A variety of lesser known records such as poll, road, tax sale, tax redemption, and tax abatement records can also help with research.

Poll taxes were collected either in payment or labor to help build and maintain the road system. Poll tax records begin in the 1850s and continue well into the 1900s. Additional road taxes were sometimes collected.

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

Although the location of many of these records has not been identified, some are at the Utah State Archives. The Family History Library has a collection of road and poll tax lists in:

  • Salt Lake City, Utah, Road Tax Lists, 1854, 1861, Poll Tax Lists Salt Lake City: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1983 (Available only at the FHL in Salt Lake) FHL Book 979.225/S1 R4s. This source contains transcriptions of Salt Lake City and Sugarhouse tax lists. It identifies the taxpayer's ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and sometimes the city where individuals moved. This transcript has been indexed in volume one of:
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern and David L. Grundvig. Early Mormon Series. Two Volumes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1982. FHL Collection. (Available at the FHL in Salt Lake, Utah and Idaho Falls, Idaho) This index includes the ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where the individual lived.

Utah State Archives and Records Service
Utah State Archives
Address: 346 S Rio Grande St.
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Phone: (801) 531-3848
Digital Archives

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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.

Inheritance Tax and Lien Records; Counties began keeping these records in 1901 to help the state determine whether a tax was due on an inheritance. The records contain the names and addresses of individuals who share in an estate and their relationship to the deceased.

City Taxes; A variety of city taxes have been charged to Utah residents for services. During the territorial period, a city assessor or a county official was responsible for city taxes. City assessors, treasurers, or finance directors now handle these matters. To locate city tax records, contact the current tax office or the Utah State Archives.

References[edit | edit source]