Illinois Tax Records
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This entry was originally written by Carol L. Maki and Michael John Neill for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
The first known tax authorization in Illinois fell under the jurisdiction of the Territory of the United States North West of the River Ohio. The tax was based on every hundred acres of unimproved uncleared prairie or woodland, divided into three classes based on quality of earth surface and soil. The rates were thirty, twenty, and ten cents, to be paid annually. Property with delinquent taxes was sold at public auction. There do not appear to be any surviving tax records from this territorial period.
Beginning with statehood, tax records form a large part of county archival material. The 1819 laws provided the first taxation process, imposing taxes on land, bank stock owned, slaves and indentured negroes or mulattoes, plus a poor tax. The tax was collected by the county, with income divided between the county and state. Taxpayers’ lists were eliminated in 1824, and in 1825 a county road tax and school taxes were enacted.
Original and microfilmed tax records at Illinois Regional Archives Depositories include taxable land lists, assessors’ books, railroad tax books, road tax records, and collectors’ books, the earliest record dated 1817. Other county tax records are located in county seats.