South Carolina Taxation

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Sample Anderson County, South Carolina Tax Record

Tax records vary in content according to the purpose of the assessment. They may include the name and residence of the taxpayer, occupation, description of the real estate and name of the original purchaser, description of some personal property, number of males over age 21, and the number of school children, slaves, and farm animals. Annual tax lists can help establish ages, residences, relationships, and the year an individual died or left the area. They can be used as substitutes for missing or destroyed land and census records. South Carolina does not have the great numbers of tax lists found in neighboring states.

The counties of South Carolina levy taxes on real and personal property. Tax-related records are kept by the offices of the Assessor, Auditor, Sheriff, and Treasurer in each county.

The South Carolina Department of Archives and History is the largest repository of South Carolina taxation records, including:

  • Quitrents (records of property taxes paid to a proprietor or the crown), receipts, and disbursements for 1733 to 1774. The quitrent lists for 1768 have been published and indexed in:
    Mary Bondurant Warren, Citizens and Immigrants: South Carolina, 1768 (Athens, Georgia: Heritage Papers, 1980).  The lists for 1760-1764 are available online at FHL book 975.7 N28w 1994
  • Treasurer of the Lower Division, Tax Returns, 1783-1799. Lists for 1783 to 1786 were published in the South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, beginning in Volume 2. (See South Carolina Periodicals.)
  • Comptroller General, Tax Returns, 1800-1867 (mostly 1860-1867); 1824 Tax Returns online index.
  • There are tax records by the federal government for 1864–1866
    United States. Bureau of Internal Revenue. Internal Revenue Assessment List for South Carolina, 1864–1866. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1988.) FHL films 1578451-1578452
  • The Family History Library has some county tax records on film, beginning with the late 1700s in some cases. To access available tax records, use the Place-names Search in the FamilySearch Catalog for:
  • Additional information on the history of South Carolina taxation and records can be found in
    Holcomb, Brent Howard, A Guide to South Carolina Genealogical Research and Records, (Columbia, SC:Brent H. Holcomb, 1998.) WorldCat 5990493; FHL book 975.7 D27h, 1998