|Pennsylvania Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
- 1703-1744 - Secretary of the Land Office. Rent Rolls, 1703-1744. (item 2-indexes) +++
- '1798-1802 - Impost books of the Collector of Customs at Philadelphia also included Taxation (scroll down click on camera to open)
- 1815 - Tax records 1815 Pennsylvania viewed only at a Family History Library near you
- 1862-1918 - U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 at Ancestry (Free/$)
- 1862-1874 - States Internal Revenue Assessment Lists, 1862-1874 FamilySearch (once you know your District you can click on the camera to open the area you want to look at on this link, there are 107 films) Link to Districts listed below under State level
|+++To view online images that are "locked" (as indicated by key over the camera) you must visit at a Family History Center or an Affiliate library. To locate the nearest one click here: Family History Center or a FamilySearch Affiliate Library|
Why Use Tax Records
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. person’s residence.
How to Use Tax Records for Pennsylvania
The Family History Library has microfilm copies of many county tax lists from county or state repositories. These lists often date from the creation of the county and to the early 1800s. An example is Pennsylvania, Comptroller General, Tax and Exoneration Lists, 1762-1801 FHL Collection. Many of these may be the same as those cited in the Pennsylvania Archives above.
- Check the individual County pages on the wiki to see what tax records are at FamilySearch and online.
- List of Microfilm copies of county records available at the State Archives by county: Records of COUNTY GOVERNMENTS Address listed below
- 1862-1866 Internal revenue assessment lists for Pennsylvania 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. (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 Lists There are 107 films; Below each District on the left side of the page are other films below that gives Reports as A,M,S months and years.
- 1780 - The eleven colonial counties are also indexed in John D. and Diane Stemmons, Pennsylvania in 1780: A Statewide Index of Circa 1780 Taxlists (Salt Lake City, Utah: [Stemmons Publishing Co.], 1978. FHL book 974.8 R42p This is only a film not digitized, check WorldCat for other locations for this film
- various years between 1765-1791 The Pennsylvania Archives 3rd series, volumes 11-22, contains tax lists for varying years between 1765-1791, for 14 of the 19 counties created by 1788. Indexes are in volumes 27-29 of the series FHL films 824436-37
Pennsylvania State Archives
Address: 801 North 3rd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102
Phone: (717) 783-3281
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. 
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.