Alabama Taxation

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Includes:
  • Male Poll Tax 1901-1925
  • Male Poll Tax 1926-1950
  • Women Poll Tax 1926-1950

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 Alabama[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

Poll tax records for many counties are generally kept in the probate clerk’s office. Poll taxes were imposed on all males of voting age, usually age 21. They generally were taken from the time the county was created. The lists are often organized by beat and then alphabetically by the first letter of the surname. Some of these records are on microfilm at the Family History Library.


State Level[edit | edit source]

1865-1866 Internal revenue assessment lists of Alabama, 1865-1866 were created into divisions called Districts, each county is put into a district. County names are arranged alphabetically within the division and then within months. The following is a list of counties placed in which district. (knowing the district and county your ancestor lived in will make searching this years taxes list a little faster)
(once on page scroll down and click on desired county camera)

U.S. Internal Revenue Assessment Lists. Three types of Reports: A=Annual; M=Monthly; S=Special Years and Reports may be different.

DISTRICT 1: Baldwin, Barbour, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Dale, Henry, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, Pike, Washington, Wilcox
DISTRICT 2: Autauga, Bibb, Chambers, Coosa, Dallas, Greene, Lowndes, Macon, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa
DISTRICT 3: Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Dekalb, Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, St. Clair, Walker, Winston


Poll tax records contain the taxpayer’s name, the year the person registered, and sometimes his or her exact birth date. The records may also indicate whether the person transferred to or from another county. Military service information may be included, such as the person’s discharge number or year of death. If the taxpayer was female, both her maiden and married names may appear in the records.

  • Poll Tax Rolls, 1850 – 1913. A record of taxes levied on all males between certain ages regardless of wealth or property. Poll taxes were abolished in 1914 with the passage of Proposition 10. No index. Note The Poll Tax, as a county revenue provides useful genealogical information in absence of more frequently used records.
  • Report, State Board Of Equalization, 1860 - A annual report prepared by the assessor to the State Board of Equalization. Contains lists of property exempt from taxation, description and location of property, name of owner, and date of report. Also lists of live stock, etc.
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

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.

The State Tax Commission found new life with the passage of the General Revenue Act of 1919, which granted it additional authority to tax business activities, such as licensing fees for commercial shipping and motor vehicles. The role of the commission expanded with the Revenue Act of 1923, which directed commission officials to assess and tax the financial shares of domestic corporations.

Over the next decade, the State Tax Commission began to levy and collect taxes in numerous other areas. With the Revenue Act of 1935, the commission began collecting a graduated state income tax and the state centralized the commission's authority as an office of assessment and collection. This Act ultimately led to the dissolution of the State Tax Commission in 1939 and the creation of State Department of Revenue. [2]

References[edit | edit source]