Wisconsin Taxation

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wisconsin Wiki Topics
Wisconsin flag.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Wisconsin Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

None at this time

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 Wisconsin[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

There are county tax rolls, some dating as early as the 1820s. The county treasurer may have these records, or they may have been transferred to the area research center for the region (see the list of area research centers in Wisconsin Archives and Libraries). This link also includes all the addresses, phone numbers, etc for each of the Research Centers listed below, click on the desired location in the content box to the left of the page

  • Brown County has an extant tax roll for 1824.[1]

State Level[edit | edit source]

The earliest tax records in Wisconsin appear to be for real estate. Many of these records have been transferred to the appropriate area research centers.[2] The following is a list of the 14 Research Centers in Wisconsin, the location, and what counties are in that Research Center area. The following link shows where they are, their web page, and what counties are in what area by color coded Area Research Center Network ( But for easier reference The counties are also listed below)

Location[edit | edit source]

14. Ashland; Bayfield - Ashland - Iron - Vilas - Sawyer - Price - Oneida - Forest Research center located within the Visitors Center Hours: 1-4:30 T-F
10. Eau Claire; Buffalo - Eau Claire - Clark - Taylor - RusK - Chippewa Eau Claire Research Center
08. Green Bay; Florence - Marqinette - Oconto - Menominee - Shawno - Outagamie - Brown -Calumet - Door - Manitowoc - Kewaunee Green Bay Research Center
02. La Cross; Trempealeau - Jackson - La Cross - Monroe - Vernon La Cross Research Center
01. Madison; Sauk - Columbia - Done Madison Research Center
06. Milwaukee; Sheboygan - Zaukee - Washington - Waukesha - Milwaukee Milwaukee Research Library
07. Oshkosh; Winnebago - Marquette - Green Lake - Fond Du Lake - Dodge Oshkosh Research Center
05. Parkside; Kenosha - Racine Kenosha Research Library
03. Platteville; Richland - Crawford - Grant - Iowa - Lafayette - Green Platteville Research Center
12. River Falls; Pierce - St. Croix - Polk - Burnette River Falls Research Center
09. Stevens Point; Lincoln - Longlade - Marathon - Wood - Portage - Wapaca - Adams - Juneau - Waushara Stevens Point Research Center
04. Whitewater; Jefferson - Rock - Walworth Whitewater Research Center
11. Stout; Barron - Dunn - Pepin Stout Reserach Center
13. Superior; Douglas - Washburn Superior Research Center

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. [3]

  • 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.

References[edit | edit source]