Tax records are an important supplement to census and land records. They can be used to determine place and length of residence. They provide useful information such as a brief description of land and property holdings. County property, county inheritance, city tax, and an early collection of federal tax records are the most commonly used tax records for family history research in Utah.
County Property Tax Records
These records begin as early as the 1850s in some counties and continue to the present. Property tax records usually list a brief description of the property, its value, and the tax assessed. To locate these records, you may contact the office of the county treasurer or the Utah State Archives. Also, county assessors and county clerks may have tax records.
The Family History Library has copies of some property tax lists. These are listed under the county in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog. For example, for Utah County, see:
Utah County. (Utah) Assessor. Assessment rolls: 1865–1915. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1958, 1965. (On 91 Family History Library films beginning with 164645.) These records are grouped mostly by geographic area. In addition to property taxes, they may include sheep tax, businesses, corporations, school tax records, mine proceeds, and copies of published delinquency notices.
Inheritance Tax and Lien Records
Counties began keeping these records in 1901 to help the state determine whether a tax was due on an inheritance. The records contain the names and addresses of individuals who share in an estate and their relationship to the deceased.
Inheritance tax and lien records are found in state district court records located either in a county clerk's office or the Utah State Archives. The library has a few records. For Cache County see:
Utah. District Court (Cache County) Inheritance Tax, 1905–Apr. 1966. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1966. Family History Library films 431095–96. An index is at the beginning of each section and is followed by the records. Names, addresses, and relationships to the deceased are included. The records give the name of the estate, then the executor, administrator, trustee, or grantee. If there was a will, you will find the volume and page number you will need to locate the will in the probate records.
A variety of city taxes have been charged to Utah residents for services. During the territorial period, a city assessor or a county official was responsible for city taxes. City assessors, treasurers, or finance directors now handle these matters. To locate city tax records, contact the current tax office or the Utah State Archives.
Federal Tax Records (1862, 1867-69)
The federal government adopted an income tax from 1862 to 1872 to help finance the Civil War. The Utah State Archives and the Family History Library have a copy of the Utah Territory assessment book for 1862, and 1867-1869. See:
United States Internal Revenue Service. Assessment Book Division No. 1, for the Territory of Utah 1862, 1867. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1956. (Family History Library film 25780.) This is not indexed, so searches have to be done by locality. The record provides the name of the head of household, how much the property is valued, and how much tax was paid.
Additional Tax Records
A variety of lesser known records such as poll, road, tax sale, tax redemption, and tax abatement records can also help with research.
Poll taxes were collected either in payment or labor to help build and maintain the road system. Poll tax records begin in the 1850s and continue well into the 1900s. Additional road taxes were sometimes collected.
Although the location of many of these records has not been identified, some are at the Utah State Archives. The Family History Library has a collection of road and poll tax lists in:
- Salt Lake City, Utah, Road Tax Lists, 1854, 1861, Poll Tax Lists Salt Lake City: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1983 FHL 979.225/S1 R4s. This source contains transcriptions of Salt Lake City and Sugarhouse tax lists. It identifies the taxpayer's LDS ward and sometimes the city where individuals moved. This transcript has been indexed in volume one of:
- Jackson, Ronald Vern and David L. Grundvig. Early Mormon Series. Two Volumes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1982. FHL 276821 This index includes the LDS Ward where the individual lived.
Tax sale records are created when a taxpayer is delinquent in paying his property taxes. These records begin by at least the 1870s and are found in either the county treasurer's office or the Utah State Archives.
Tax abatement records exist from the territorial period to the present. These list the names of individuals seeking a tax deferment. They list the reason for the request, such as a physical disability or an inability to pay. They may also list the names of relatives or guardians. To locate these records contact the county auditor's office or the Utah State Archives. Territorial records are often found in the records of the county court.
Because tax records cover different levels of localities and other subjects, check the following on the Family History Library Catalog Place Search:
- UTAH - TAXATION
- UTAH, [COUNTY] - TAXATION
- UTAH, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - TAXATION
- UTAH, [COUNTY] - LAND AND PROPERTY
- UTAH, [COUNTY] - PROBATE RECORDS