Texas Tax Records

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This entry was originally written by Wendy Bebout Elliott, Ph.D. FUGA for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

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Texas tax records constitute one of the most complete sets of available records generated at the county level and maintained by the office of county tax assessor-collector. Tax records through 1980 are filed with the state comptroller of public accounts. These lists may only include approximately sixty percent of eligible males over the age of twenty-one. Persons exempted from taxes included Native Americans and those exempted because of age. Age exemptions varied over time. Years without an older age exemption were 1840 and 1862 to 1870. Between 1841 and 1844, exemptions began at forty-five years; in 1845 and from 1850 to 1861 the upward age was set at fifty years. In 1837, 1848, and 1849 the limit was established as fifty-five, and in 1846 to 1847, and 1871 the upward limit was set at sixty years.

Texas Ad Valorem (poll, personal, and real property) tax records for 1836 through 1976 are available in microfilm at the Texas State Library from the date of respective county organization; these are arranged by county and date and are somewhat alphabetized within each division. Microfilm copies are housed in the Genealogy Section. Tax lists for the various counties from creation to 1901 may be borrowed through interlibrary loan. A record of taxpayers of Houston was enumerated in 1839. Tax records through 1901 through 1947 are readily accessible, but not on interlibrary loan. Those for 1948 through 1976 can be obtained upon request.

Lists for various counties have been published. Some statewide compilations include the following:

  • Dorman, Beth, and Emily Dorman. Taxpayers of the Republic of Texas Covering 30 Counties and the District of Panola. Grand Prairie, Tex.: the authors, 1988.
  • Mullins, Marion Day. Republic of Texas: Poll Lists for 1846. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1974.
  • White, Gifford E. 1840 Citizens of Texas. 3 vols. Austin, Tex.: the author, 1983–1988. Vols. 1 and 3 list land grants; vol. 2 includes tax rolls.

The Texas State Library and Archives website provides catalog access to its holdings in tax records at www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/taxrolls.html. An 1839 tax list for Houston was published in the Houston Morning Star. A transcription is available online at http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/tx/harris/taxlists/taxlist.txt.