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Various records exist for taxes levied throughout Scottish history. Originally, government revenues came from property owned by the crown. The government levied small-scale, national taxes during times of specific financial need. National taxes were separate from the local taxes, or rates, which were collected by the parishes for local services and poor relief (see Scotland Church Records or Scotland Poorhouses, Poor Law, Etc). Separate records may have been created for the assessment and collection of the taxes.
After England and Scotland unified in 1707, Scotland had many of the same taxes as England. However, not all English taxes were levied on the Scottish at the time of union.
Types of Tax Records
Some Scottish taxes include:
Apprenticeship Tax. From 1710 to 1811, a tax was assessed on the money a master received for an apprenticeship indenture. The tax was due within one year after the term of indenture expired. Apprentices put out by a parish or charity were exempt from the tax.
The records contain the master’s name, address, and trade and the apprentice’s name and date of indenture. There are indexes for 1710 to 1774 only (Family History Library films 477624-477637). The original records are housed at the Public Record Office, Kew. For more information on apprenticeships, see the "Occupations" section.
Farm Horse Tax. The Farm Horse Tax rolls (NAS E326/10) list the names of the owner and number of horses and mules used in husbandry or trade in 1797-1798. In some rolls the tax inspectors made repeat visits to track down non-payers, which explains why some parishes and burghs are repeated. The listing below is that of the original rolls. The National Archives of Scotland (E326/10) The original registers are provided through Scotlands Places as an Historical Tax Rolls. There are 13 volumes altogether available for research.
Hearth Tax. A tax of a shilling for each fireplace or stove (except those of paupers) was collected between 1690 and 1695. The records are housed at the Scottish Record Office. They give the name and number of hearths. This tax indicates the size of the house. Not all counties are represented in the available records. You can find these records in the Locality Search of the Family History Library under SCOTLAND, [COUNTY] - TAXATION.
Poll Tax. This tax was levied annually on all males except beggars and monks. The records exist between 1694 and 1699 and are housed in the Scottish Record Office. The records are arranged by county. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of these records (Family History Library film 559527-559528).
A full list of taxes is provided by the National Archives of Scotland under 'taxation records'.
Records at the Family History Library
The Family History Library has microfilmed copies of some of the original tax lists. Look in the Locality Search of the catalog under:
SCOTLAND - TAXATION
SCOTLAND - [COUNTY] - TAXATION
SCOTLAND - [COUNTY] - [PARISH] - TAXATION
For more information, see the following sources:
Dowell, Stephen, and A.R. Ilersic. A History of Taxation and Taxes in England. 6 vols. London: Frank Cass & Co., Ltd., 1965. (Family History Library 942 R4d.) These volumes give a detailed history of taxation in England and Scotland and define the relationship between the two countries in terms of tax levying and implementation.
Gibson, Jeremy. The Hearth Tax and Other Later Stuart Tax Lists and the Oath Association Rolls. Solihull, England: Federation of Family History Societies, 1986. (Family History Library book 942 R43g.) This reference gives the types of taxes, dates covered, and repository catalog numbers for surviving tax records in Scotland, England, and Wales.
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