Colorado Taxation

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

  • 1862-1874 - Internal Revenue assessment lists - at FamilySearch.org. Images only. (Images include a county research guide, and some county or city assessment lists (annual, monthly, and special) for the years 1862-1866.)
  • 1862-1918 - U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 - ($); At Ancestry.com (This collection includes annual, monthly and special assessment lists.)
  • Tax Lists at the Colorado State Archives. Search by record type, Tax Lists or view the list of records included in the Archives Search to view records by county. The database is also searchable by name and time span.

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 Colorado[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

Tax records in Colorado may be found in a variety of locations Some are located in the treasurer's office at the county level, others have been moved to libraries, historical societies, or the state archives. Some have been lost or, with permission of the state of Colorado, destroyed. A few dating back to the 1870's or earlier have survived. [1] Tax Lists at the Colorado State Archives has a searchable database for individuals.

State Level[edit | edit source]

  • 1865-1866 Internal Revenue assessment lists for Colorado Internal revenue assessment lists 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 to desired years and click on camera to open)

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

These counties are all one Division and no Districts, they are listed under different years, Counties and years are as follows:

Roll 1: years 1862-1863 Counties listed are: Arapahoe, Boulder, Clear Creek, Costilla, Douglas, Fremont,Greenwood, Huerfano, Jefferson, Lake, Laremer, Park Summit, Weld
Roll 2: Year 1864 SAME Counties
Roll 3: Years 1865-1866 SAME Counties


State laws are always subject to change through the enactment of newly passed statutes or other means, while tax laws are periodically updated in accordance to the needs of the state. You may want to contact the Colorado State Archives with any specific questions.

Colorado State Archives
1313 Sherman Street
Floor 1B, Room 20
Denver, CO 80203
Telephone: (303) 866-2358

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.

Nearly all states collect an annual tax on personal income, based on one's salary and other forms of "taxable income." The vast majority of states have what is known as a progressive tax code, which is essentially a sliding scale based on income, which requires those over a certain threshold to pay the highest rate. Some states have a flat tax that applies to all taxpayers regardless of income. Income taxes are used for a number of state goods and services available to residents, such as public education, police protection, and assistance for low-income individuals. Not all states collect income tax, but typically make up for it in other ways.

There are two types of taxes: federal and state. U.S. citizens need to be sure that they comply with both sets of tax laws.[3]

References[edit | edit source]