Delaware 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 Delaware[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

Tax assessments in what is now Delaware were first taken in 1693. Family History Library film 441413 has the lists for that year for Kent, New Castle, and Sussex Counties; also a list for 1696 for New Castle County. Tax lists were taken sporadically until 1726, then annually thereafter. Lists for the following years are found in the Family History Catalog:

Kent County

New Castle County

Sussex County

State Level[edit | edit source]

The original lists from the 1700s to about 1915 are preserved at the Delaware Public Archives.

Delaware Public Archives
121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. North
Dover, DE 19901
(302) 744-5000
Web page: Delaware Archives

Published Lists and Indexes[edit | edit source]

The following published lists and indexes may be helpful in locating early residents of Delaware:

  • 1665-1697 - Early Delaware census records, 1665-1697, Ronald Vern Jackson and Gary Ronald Teeples. Bountiful, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1977.
  • 1681- 1713 - Colonial Delaware records 1681-1713, Bruce A. Bendler. Westminster, Maryland: Family Line Publications, 1990. This includes lists for: Kent County, rent rolls 1681-1688, tax lists 1693, quit rents 1701-1713; New Castle County, tax lists 1693; Sussex County, rent rolls 1681-1688, tax lists 1693, quit rents 1702-1713. The quit rent records often contain valuable genealogical information.
  • 1693 - The First Tax List for the Province of Pennsylvania and the Three Lower Counties, 1693, Bedminster, Pennsylvania: The Press, 1994. This book contains information for 1693 on the three Delaware counties as well as Philadelphia, Bucks, and Chester Counties in Pennsylvania.
  • 1782 - The Reconstructed Delaware state census of 1782, Harold B. Hancock. Wilmington, Delaware: Delaware Genealogical Society, 1973. The publication below by Nelson is more complete and more fully indexed.
  • 1782 - Delaware 1782 tax assessment and census, Ralph D. Nelson. Wilmington, Delaware: Delaware Genealogical Society, 1994. Contains tax lists for 1782 for all the "hundreds" of Delaware and 1782 census for seven of the "hundreds." This has maps on pages 5-6 and a list of the "hundreds" on p. 4. There is a Soundex cross reference list (to surnames) at the end of the book.
  • 1790 - Reconstructed 1790 census of Delaware, Leon DeValinger, Jr. Reconstructed 1790 Census of Delaware. Washington, DC: National Genealogical Society, 1962. Reconstructed 1790 census of Delaware. This list was prepared from tax lists and is a useful census substitute.

Tax Laws[edit | edit source]

Delaware levied a tax on several classes of income in 1869, then abolished it in 1871.

Nearly all states collect an annual tax on personal income, based on one's salary and other forms of "taxable income." The vast majority of states have what is known as a progressive tax code, which is essentially a sliding scale based on income, which requires those over a certain threshold to pay the highest rate. Some states have a flat tax that applies to all taxpayers regardless of income. Income taxes are used for a number of state goods and services available to residents, such as public education, police protection, and assistance for low-income individuals. Not all states collect income tax, but typically make up for it in other ways.

There are two types of taxes: federal and state. U.S. citizens need to be sure that they comply with both sets of tax laws.[1]

References[edit | edit source]