North Carolina 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 man 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 the 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 North Carolina[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

The earliest property tax records date from 1715, though property tax did not become common until 1777.

Check with individual Counties within Wiki for tax records on the county level.

State Level[edit | edit source]

  • 1862-1866 Internal revenue assessment lists for North Carolina 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 to open)

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

DISTRICT 1: Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, Washington
DISTRICT 2: Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Edgecombe, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pitt, Wayne, Wilson
DISTRICT 3: Anson, Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Harnett, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Stanly
DISTRICT 4: Chatham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Nash, Orange, Wake, Warren
DISTRICT 5: Alamance, Caswell, Davidson, Forsyth, Guilford, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry
DISTRICT 6: Alexander, Cabarrus, Catawba, Davie, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Union, Wilkes, and
DISTRICT 7: Alleghany, Ashe, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Transylvania, Watauga, Yancey.

Published Tax Lists

  • Early North Carolina- 7 vols. Jackson, Ronald Vern. FHL|72611|item|disp=FHL book 973 D2jeno Each volume is alphabetical. The date and county of residence given. These are in storage on floor B1 of the Family History Library, in Salt Lake, which means that a staff member/missionary will have to retrieve them. (For other locations Click WorldCat)
  • 1729–1732- Some quit rent records, which are a form of tax list, for the time period 1729–1732 on pages 240–258 of volume 22 of The Colonial Records of North Carolina: FHL book 975.6 N2n Volume 22 Digitized version available at the Family History Library in Salt lake. For other locations Click WorldCat (Sorry but because of copyright laws this can't be viewed online)


Tax money bag.jpg

Tax Laws[edit | edit source]

Tax records have been kept consistently in North Carolina from colonial times. Generally, two types of taxes were used: taxes on people, known as poll or capitation tax, and taxes on property. Tax lists from the mid-eighteenth century to the 1900s exist for many counties and have been microfilmed. Copies are at the North Carolina State Archives and at the Family History Library. They include poll tax records, railroad tax books, taxable land lists, personal property tax lists, and records of delinquent taxes.

Until 1777 the poll tax was used almost exclusively, and it was used consistently until 1970. Over the years laws have changed the definition of who would be counted in the taxing. For example, the age at which men no longer had to pay taxes varied in different time periods, and during some periods new residents of the state were exempt from being taxed. In 1715 North Carolina began collecting taxes from the head of the household for all free males aged 16 or over and all slaves aged 12 or over. In 1835 the ages were changed to 21 to 45 for free males and 12 to 50 for slaves. Some early lists name each taxable person, so you may find a listing for both a father and his sons. Later lists generally give only the name of the head of a household and the number of additional taxable persons in the home.

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]