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Tax records are often difficult to find, are not usually indexed, and give limited information. Because of this, they are normally searched only after exhausting other sources. Certain circumstances may suggest consulting tax records earlier. For example, apprentice tax records should be consulted if the person sought was employed in a trade which had a guild during the 18th or early 19th centuries. They serve as inhabitants lists in periods pre-dating parish registration of baptisms, marriages, and burial. Also, Land Tax Assessments may help track family movements during the 1780-1832 time period. Records exist for different taxes levied throughout English history. Separate records may have been created for assessment and collection of the taxes.


Originally government revenues came from property owned by the Crown. The government levied small national taxes during times of specific financial need. National taxes were separate from the local taxes, or "rates," collected by the parishes for local services and poor relief (see England Church Records).

The earliest national taxes were called "lay subsidies." Other taxes followed. Major types of taxes included: Lay Subsidies. Beginning in the late 12th century, the government sporadically assessed taxes on personal property. The records give the name, parish, and amount. The subsidy records from 1542 to 1545 contain the most information, listing people over the age of 16 with income from land, with taxable goods worth two pounds, or with an annual wage of one pound or more. The original records are in the National Archives.

Contents

Taxation records of greatest genealogical value

Poll Tax. This tax was very inclusive and covered a large percentage of the population. Records often name taxpayers in family units and are organized by county, hundred, and parish. Surviving records for 1377, 1379, and 1381 are in The National Archives and have been published by Oxford University Press:

The government revived the poll tax between 1660 and 1698, but few records still exist. Those that do are in city archives and county record offices. To view a Poll Tax click here.

Lay Subsidies 1523-7, 1543-4. The most comprehensive returns are those of King Henry VIII's reign covering 1523-1527 and 1543-1544 since they had the lowest taxation thresholds. Lay subsidies were collected throughout England except the four northern counties (Cumberland, Westmorland, Northumberland and Durham) and the Cinque Ports. Cheshire is not covered prior to 1523 and Wales and Monmouthshire did not pay subsidies until 1543. Large numbers of the nominal lists of taxpayers for these years, and others, are in E 179 at TNA, whilst others may be found in municipal archives, estate collections in local record offices, or collections formed by early county historians that may have been deposited in a relevant library or archives.[1] Lists for many counties have been published, such as:

Hearth Tax. This tax of a shilling for each fireplace or stove (except those of paupers) was collected twice a year from 1662 to 1689. Records give the name and number of hearths. The names of those exempt (poor people) were included from 1663. Records from 1662 to 1666 and 1669 to 1674 are in the National Archives. The other years are among records of quarter sessions (see England Court Records). Slowly these taxes are being put online here: Hearth Tax Online.

Land Tax Assessment. From 1693 the government assessed a tax on all land valued over a fixed annual rent of 20 shillings. Read more...

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, as well as the apprentice’s name and date of indenture. The records are in both city (if the tax was paid in London) and country (referring to the rest of England except for London) records. There are indexes for 1710 to 1774 (Family History Library films 477624–637). The original records are at the National Archives (see England Archives and Libraries for the address). For more information on apprenticeships, see England Occupations.

Online collections:

Monthly Assessment. From 1642 to 1680, each parish was assessed a tax called the "monthly assessment." The records are of limited value since they do not always give individual names.

Free and Voluntary Present. In 1661 the restored monarch improved his poor financial condition with a tax called the "free and voluntary present." Records of this tax are arranged by place.

Marriage Tax. From 1695 to 1706, a "marriage tax" was assessed on bachelors, widowers, and childless couples. It was also charged for parish register entries of baptism, marriage, and burial. Few records survive, but those that do serve as a surname index to parish registers. Those for London and Bristol have been published:

The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies maintains a manuscript inventory identifying places where this source survives.

Window Tax. A tax on each window in a dwelling was collected from 1696 to 1798. Records give the owner’s name and number of windows.

Records of other taxes are held at the National Archives.

Taxation Records Timeline

DATE MAIN TAXES AND OTHER LISTS
Early - 1647 Church Rates (combined with Poor Rate in (1647)
1066-1609 Feudal Aids
Mediaeval - 1996
Tithes
Mediaeval - 20th c
Burgess Rolls
Mediaeval ----
School Turstees lists
1202-1206
King John's Duty (customs)
1207-1332
Early Lay Subsidies
1275-1297
Ancient Custom (duties)
1303 ----
New (or Petty) Custom
1327 ----
Butlerage
1334-1623
Tenths and Fifteenths
1347-1455
Forced Loans
1377
Poll Tax
1379
Poll Tax
1381
Poll Tax
1404-1504
Income Tax
1440-1487
Alien subsidies (poll tax on foreigners)
1475-1639
Benevolences
1496-1628
Forced and Privy Seal Loans
1511
Thirty Nine Articles of Faith (oath)
1513
Poll Tax
1522-1523
Military Survey and Forced Loans
1522-1527
Tudor Lay Subsidies
1522-1640
County Militia Musters
1522-1920
Treasury Books
1530s --
Licences for midwives, schoolmasters, physicians
and surgeons
1543-1544
Tudor Lay Subsidies
1549
Sheep Tax
1552 ----
Alehouse licences
1552-1772
Licences for badgers, hagglers and hucksters
1558-1625
Certificates of Residence
1559
Oath of Supremacy
1572-1677
Licences to pass beyond the seas
1601-1865
Poor Rates (replaced by Union rate in 1868)
1604-1671
Stuart Lay Subsidies
1618-1688
Foreign Protestants and aliens registration
1637-1641
Ship Money
1641
Poll Tax
1641/2
Protestation Returns
1641-1642
Collection in Aid of Distressed Irish Protestants
1642-1680
Monthly and Weekly Assessments
1643
Vow and Covenant
1643-1644
Solemn League and Covenant
1647-1868
Church Rates a compulsory part of Poor Rates
1654 ----1841
Highway and Surveyors Rates
Mid-17th c
Freemasons started
1655
Decimation Tax
1656-1799
Port Books (customs)
1660
Poll Tax
1660-1680
Hat duty
1660-1689
Oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance to the Crown
1661-1662
Free and Voluntary Present to King Charles II
1661-1834
Royal Aids
1662 ----1738
Constables Rates
1662-1688
Hearth Tax
1663-1888
Turnpike Trustee lists
1666-1667
Poll Tax
1672
Declaration against transubstantiation
1672-1828
Test Act-for Catholics, and 1860 (Jews)
1673 ----
Licences for lying-In Hospitals
1673-1828
Sacrament Certificates
1676
Compton Census
1677
Poll Tax
1677-1678
Contributions to rebuilding St. Paul's Cathedral
1681
First fire insurance company
1681-1940
City of London Freedom Records
1688 ----
Dissenters Meeting House licences and Nonconformist
Chapel Trustees lists
1692-1963
Land Tax (most complete for 1780-1832)
1693
1st State Tontine
Late 17th c
Start of Life Assurance companies
1694
Poll Tax
1694
Bank of England establisted
1695-1696
Association Oath
1695-1706
Registration (Marriage) Tax Inhabitants Lists
1690s-1993
Lloyd's insurance company and 'names'
1696 ----
Freeholders Lists (Jury Lists)
1696-1834
House Tax
1696-1851
Window Tax
1696-1868
Poll Books
1698
Poll Tax
1698 ----1738
Gaol Rates
1702
Oath of Abjuration
1710-1863
Sun Fire and Royal Exchange Fire insurance Lists
1710-1811
Apprenticeship Indenture Duty
1710
Records of bankrupts began
Early 18th c
Marine insurance risk books begin
1711-1960
Playing Cards and Dice Tax
1712-1855
Stamp Duty on Newspapers
1714-1715
Oath of Allegiance
1722
Oath of Allegiance
1724
Tea, coffee, cocoa and sugar duties commenced
1732
Salt excise duty started
1739 ----
County Rates
1745
Jacobite Rebellion loyalty lists
1745
1st State Annuity
1746
2nd State Annuity
1747-1782
Carriage Tax
c 1750
London Gazxette starting listing business dissolutions
1750
Lighting Rates
1750-1799
Friendly Societies records start, many continue today
1750-1946
Watching Rate
1751
Tobacco and snuff duty began
1752-1828
Licenced victuallers required licences
1756-1777
Gold and Silver Plate Tax
1757
3rd State Annuity
1757-1876
Militia Muster Rolls
1765
Stamp Act (Duty for North America)
1766
2nd State Tontine
1773
Irish State Tontine
1775
Irish State Tontine
1777
Irish State Tontine
1777-1852
Male Servants Tax
1778
4th State Annuity
1779
5th State Annuity
1780-1832
Land Tax returns most complete
1783-1794
Stamp Act Tax
1784-1807
Game Duty
1784-1795
Flax Bounty
1784-1874
Horse Tax
1785-c1798
Shop Tax
1785-1792
Female Servants Tax
1786
Slaughterhouse licensing began
1788-1919
Refugee records
1789
3rd State Tontine
End 18th c-date
Trade Directories
1793-1869
Aliens Registration
1793-1882
Armorial Bearings Tax
1795-1861
Hair Powder Tax
1796-1882
Barge licences
1795-1871
Dog Tax
1796-1903
Death (Estate, Probate or Legacy) Duty
1797-1798
Clocks and Watches Tax
1799 ----
Literary and Scientific Societies needed licences
1799-1802
Income Tax
1799-1869
Printing pres licences
Early 19th c
Commutations of tithes started
Early 19th -
mid 20th century

Burial Clubs
1801
A few census returns with names exist
1803-1816
Income Tax
1810
First Gentlemen's Club
1811
A few census returns with names exist
1812
Gas service
1817
Savings banks start to register with Clerk of Peace
1821
Records of bankrupts coverage complete
1821
A few census returns with names exist
1828
Banks needed approval of JPs
1830-1914
Railway Trustees lists
1831
A few census returns with names exist
1832

Parliamentary Reform Act-Electoral Registers
(Voters Lists) commence

1833
Water Rates
1834
New Poor Law
1835
Reform of franchise for municipalities
1836-1854
Commutation of tithes completed
1841
Census
1842-date
Income Tax
1844
Registration of businesses started
1844
First Co-operative Society
1849-1957
King's/Queen's Bounty
1851
Census
1851-1924
House Duty
1852
Burial boards began in London
1853
Burial boards began elsewhere
1853-1949
Succession Duty
1858
Civil administration of probate began
1859-1907
Rifle Volunteers
1861
Post Office Savings Bank commenced
1861
Census
1865-1925
Union Rates
1870
School Board franchise
1870-1882
Gun Tax
1871 ----
Licenced victuallers required licences
1871
Census
1873
Return of Owners of Land
1877 ----
Electricity Rates
1879
Racecourse licences commenced
1880s-date
London telephone directories
1881
Census
1888
County Councils commenced
1891
Census
1894
Parish Councils began
1899
London Borough Councils instituted
1899-1901
Imperial Yeomanry
1901
Census
1907-date
Territorial Army
1908-1924
Special reserve (from 1921 called the Militia)
1908-1946
Old Age Pensions
Pre-1909-1941
Excise duty on Medicine
1910
Valuation Office Records
1911
National [Health] Insurance Ace
1916-1948
Betting duties
1916-1960
Entertainment duty
1916-1966
Gaming duties
1916-1993
Match and mechanical lighter duties
1918
Absent Voters Lists began
1919
Most men; and some women over 30 in
Electoral Registers

1924-1953
Supplementary Reserve [Militia]
1925-1990
General Rates
1926-1929
Unsuccessful betting duty
1928
All women over 21 in Electoral Registers
Pre-1929
Railway passenger duty
1940-1973
Purchase (Sales) Tax
1940-1945
Home Guard (Local Defence Volunteers)
1940s-date
Provincial Telephone Directories
1946
Old Age Pensions now termed State Pensions
1948
Welfare State introduced [Health coverage]
1952-1957
Home Guard (Local Defence Volunteers)
1957-1963
Television excise duty
1957-1967
Retail liquor licences required
1957-1985
Film levy
1961-1964
Television advertisement duty
1969
Age of majority and franchise reduced to 18
1973-date
Value Added Tax (VAT)
1975-date
Capital Transfer Tax (Probate and Succession)
1990
Pole Tax[2]

Records at the Family History Library

The Family History Library has some published tax records and some microfilmed original lists. They are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:

ENGLAND - TAXATION

ENGLAND, [COUNTY] - TAXATION

ENGLAND, [COUNTY], [PARISH] - TAXATION

A notable collection is the lay subsidy and hearth tax returns that have been microfilmed. Use in conjunction with the E 179 Database to locate TNA piece numbers that correspond to FHL films covering ancestral parishes:

  • Records of the Exchequer and its related bodies with those of the Office of First Fruits and Tenths, and the Court of Augmentations [hearth taxes and other subsidy taxes]: King's remembrancer, particulars of account and other records relating to lay and clerical taxation, 1272-1678. FHL Film 2228633 (1st of 117 films)

Records published by societies or in periodicals are not listed separately in the catalog. Some are listed in:

  • Some records are listed and described in John WestVillage Records. Second Edition. Chichester, England: Phillimore, 1982. (Family History Library book 942 H27w 1982.)

For Further Reading

  • Beresford, M. W. The Lay Subsidies and the Poll Taxes. Canterbury, England: Phillimore & Company, 1963. (Family History Library book 942 A1 no. 836.) This explains the history and existing records of early English taxes.
  • Dowell, Stephen, and A. R. Ilersic. A History of Taxation and Taxes in England. Six Volumes. London, England: Frank Cass & Co., Ltd., 1965. (Family History Library book 942 R4d.) These volumes give a detailed history of taxation in England.
  • Gibson, Jeremy. The Hearth Tax and Other Later Stuart Tax Lists and the Association Oath Rolls. Solihull, England: Federation of Family History Societies Publications, Limited. (Family History Library book 942 R43g.) This reference gives the types of taxes, dates covered, and repository catalog numbers by county of surviving tax records.

Related Wiki articles

References

  1. Christensen, Penelope. "England Taxation Feudal Aids 1066 to 1660 (National Institute)," The National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012), https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/England_Taxation_Feudal_Aids_1066_to_1660_%28National_Institute%29.
  2. Christensen, Penelope. "England Timeline of Tax, List, Business, Electoral, Insurance Records (National Institute)," The National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012), https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/England_Timeline_of_Tax,_List,_Business,_Electoral,_Insurance_Records_%28National_Institute%29.




 

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  • This page was last modified on 13 August 2014, at 23:14.
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