Illinois 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 Illinois[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

Tax records are most commonly housed in the county seat for each county, although they can be found on state and local levels as well. The tax records include assessors’ books, railroad tax books, collectors’ books, taxable land lists, delinquent taxes, and road tax books. Some original and microfilmed copies are in the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD). You may find Illinois Tax resources available at FamilySearch Catalog and WorldCat.

State Level[edit | edit source]

  • 1865-1866 Internal revenue assessment lists for Illinois 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 district desired and click on camera)

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

Illinois was divided into 13 tax districts. A Full list of Counties included in each district are as follows:
DISTRICT 2: Boone, De Kalb, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Winnebago
DISTRICT 3: Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside
DISTRICT 4: Adams, Hancock, Henderson, Mercer, Rock Island, Warren
DISTRICT 5: Bureau, Henry, Knox, Marshall, Peoria, Putnam, Stark
DISTRICT 6: Du Page, Grundy, Kankakee, Kendall, La Salle, Will
DISTRICT 7: Champaign, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Vermilion
DISTRICT 8: De Witt, Livingston, Logan, McLean, Sangamon, Tazewell, Woodford
DISTRICT 9: Brown, Cass, Fulton, McDonough, Mason, Menard, Pike, Schuyler
DISTRICT 10: Bond, Calhoun, Christian, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Morgan, Scott, Shelby
DISTRICT 11: Clark, Clay, Crawford, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Hamilton, Jasper, Jefferson, Lawrence, Marion, Richland, Wayne
DISTRICT 12: Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington
DISTRICT 13: Alexander, Edwards, Gallatin, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wabash, White, Williamson.

Genealogical periodicals often contain published tax lists.  To search periodicals use the Periodical Source Index (PERSI). For more information about periodicals, see the wiki page for United States periodicals or the Illinois state periodicals.

Tax Laws[edit | edit source]

Tax money bag.jpg

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

The first tax records of Illinois were created while Illinois was part of the Northwest Territory of the Ohio River in the late 1700s to early 1800s. These recorded an assessment for property tax on unimproved land, uncleared prairie or wood land, and were divided into three classes based on quality of earth surface and soil. If payment became delinquent, the property was sold at public auction. However, unfortunately, those early tax records do not appear to have survived.

After Illinois became a state, tax records of various kinds were kept in the counties where the records were created. Examples of the kind of tax records you might find are: land taxes, poor taxes, school taxes, and county road taxes. A person was also taxed for having bank stock, slaves, and indentured Blacks or Mulattoes.

While tax lists are often used as substitutes for missing census records, in Illinois they do not represent every household. Those who did not own taxable land or property were not listed. No voting or poll taxes were imposed. Most Illinois land purchased from the federal government was not taxable for five years. Therefore, a person appearing on a tax list for the first time may have actually lived in the area for several years. The tax was collected by the county, with income divided between the county and state. Taxpayers' lists were eliminated in 1824, and in 1825 a county road tax and school taxes were enacted.[2]

References[edit | edit source]