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Vermont 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 Vermont[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

Great lists are the annual assessment for town tax purposes, they were taken every year for every town in Vermont. They are the only taxes organized enough to be of genealogical use. Many of them are extent, but they are not easy to find. Sometimes they appear as part of the proprietor or town meeting records (these could be in the town records microfilms at Vermont Public Records Division or at the FHL) or sometimes in separate books (which might be in town clerks' offices or vaults). The assessment might be for a poll that included twenty-one year old males or eligible voters "Freemen" in Vermont.) acreage, buildings, cattle, yards of material produced, and clapboards milled. People taxed were not necessarily landowners.

State Level[edit | edit source]

  • 1862-1866 Internal revenue assessment lists for Vermont 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.

List of Districts for 1861-1866 Taxes:
DISTRICT 1: Addison; Bennington; Rutland; Washington
DISTRICT 2: Caledonia; Orange; Windham; Windsor
DISTRICT 3: Chittenden; Essex; Franklin; Grand Isle; Lamoille; Orleans

(For district 3 there are annual lists but No records available for monthly and Special lists)

Vermont State Archives[edit | edit source]

1078 Route 2, Middlesex
Montpelier, Vermont 05633-7701
Telephone: 802-828-2308
E-mail: archives@sec.state.vt.us
Website: Vermont State Archives
They have original state, county, and town records at all levels of government from all over Vermont. This includes all birth, marriages, deaths, and divorces prior to 2012. For vital records 2012 to present contact the Vermont Department of Health.[1]

Some tax lists are in the town records and also in the manuscript collection Vermont State Papers. See Vermont Town Records and Vermont Public Records

Tax money bag.jpg

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.


  1. Vital Records in Vermont Secretary of State (accessed 1 May 2017).
  2. Creation of the IRA