Maine 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 Maine[edit | edit source]

County Level[edit | edit source]

Tax records were recorded by state and town officials. Many tax lists are included in town histories. Because Maine was part of Massachusetts until 1820, some Maine tax records will also be listed under Massachusetts.

State Level[edit | edit source]

  • 1862-1866 Internal revenue assessment lists for Main 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.

1862-1874 Internal Revenue Assessment Districts for Maine:
District 1: Cumberland, York
District 2: Androscoggin, Franklin, Oxford, Sagaddahoc
District 3: Kennebec, Lincloln, Somerset
District 4: Aroostook, Penobscot, Piscataquis
District 5: Hancock, Knox, Waldo, Washington


Books published and/or on film

  • 1771 The Massachusetts Tax Valuation List of 1771 Pruitt, Bettye Hobbs, Editor. The Massachusetts Tax Valuation List of 1771. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1978. Besides the Family History Library in Salt Lake click on WorldCat on the page to find other Copy locations. (also includes an index)
  • 1798 Massachusetts and Maine Direct Tax Census of 1798 United States. Secretary of the Treasury. Massachusetts and Maine Direct Tax Census of 1798. Cambridge, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1978. Films only at Family History Library in Salt Lake Click on WorldCat for other locations of these films

The original 1798 tax records are at
New England Historic Genealogical Society
Address: 99 Newbury St.
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: 888-296-3447

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.


References[edit | edit source]

  1. May be used for free at Family History Center. To locate a center near you, click here.
  2. Creation of the IRA