Florida Taxation

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Tax money bag.jpg

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 Florida[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

Examples of the kind of tax records you might find are: land taxes, poor taxes, school taxes, and county road taxes. Also included at the county level are assessors’ books, railroad tax books, collectors’ books, taxable land lists, delinquent taxes, and road tax books. Other items that have been listed as taxable are: Number of males above taxable age (twenty-one), slaves, horses, wagons, and items of personal property such as jewelry, watches, musical instruments, and carriages

State Level[edit | edit source]

  • 1862-1866 Internal revenue assessment list for Florida For Florida Internal revenue assessment county lists were created into divisions, and not listed into separate Districts. So all Divisions are listed into 1 District.
    (once on page scroll down 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.


Copies of the above mentioned microfilms are also available from the State Archives of Florida. The archives also has manuscript tax records.

Tax rolls between census years, can be a gold mine for researchers. Although most existing rolls can be found in the counties of origin, the Florida State Archives has some bound volumes covering the period of 1829-1881. These may also be on microfilm at libraries throughout Florida. However, the series annually prepared by the tax assessor, is incomplete for most counties and varies greatly from year to year in the details recorded.
Tax rolls can be valuable resources to document an individual's migration. Some of the counties' records in the series are incomplete, but there are some in the Florida State Archives that the originating counties no longer have. This collection is not indexed and must be searched in the county and/or at the Florida State Archives.[1]

Florida State Archives
Division of Library and information Services
Phone #: 850-245-6700
E-mail: archives@dos.myflorida.com
State Archives of Florida

Tax Laws[edit | edit source]

Tax lists in Florida can be an important supplement to early census and land records. After Florida became a state, tax records of various kinds were kept in the counties and towns.

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.

References[edit | edit source]