Land Tax


(Extract from “Search Guide to the English Land Tax” by R.W.Unwin)

Land Tax arose from the financial strains of the wars with France. Under the Terms of The Authorisation Act of 1693, each County was required to raise a certain quota, fixed arbritarily, towards a National Tax for one year of £1,922,713.

Yield was calculated at half a million pounds for every shilling in the pound of nominal taxation, so the initial rate represented four shillings in the pound. It was voted on annually by Parliament between 1693 –1798, the rate varying between 1/- and 4/-.

The original quotas were biased in favour of the Western and Northern Counties. These unequalities became enshrined and became permanent. Local Commissioners were appointed in 1693 and Justices of the Peace, Gentry etc.were appointed. In Boroughs Mayors, Aldermen etc. were nominated because of their position. Local Commissioners appointed Assessors to make returns of total valuations of townships and parishes within each division. These were often the High Constable. Assessments may be revised by the Local Commissioners. The Assessment Books remained in the custody of the Commissioners or their clerks. One copy went to the Receiver General for the County and another to the Collectors in each Parish or Area. In the late Eighteenth Century these were often displayed on the Church Door to allow for appeals. The collectors were appointed and supervised by the Commissioners and they earned three pence poundage on local quotas and the clerk, who recorded their business, earned one pence poundage.

The County Receivers were appointed by the Treasury. Between 1780 –1832 duplicate copies were deposited with the Clerk of Peace for the County.

Any man who held freehold property worth 40 shillings per year or more could vote. Because of the inaccurate state of the land registers by 1807, two thousand possible voters were unable to vote in Yorkshire’s first Election since 1742.

In 1798 Prime Minister Pitt gave the option to proprietors to redeem their tax incidence by the payment of a lump sum of 15 years purchase, which would exonerate them from further payments. The Act also set the amount for that year of 4/- in the pound, a perpetual charge subject to redemption or purchase. At the same time very small owners, whose value of property did not amount to twenty shillings per year, were excused and no longer chargeable for Land Tax.

Under the Law of 1802 strict proof of redemption was introduced and was to consist of the production of the Certificate of Redemption coupled with the Receipt issued by the Bank of England.

In 1806 Exonerated Tax was charged upon land and buildings of ecclesiastical and charitable institutions with an income under £150 per annum, subject to a maximum in one year of £6000.


Small assessments, of 4/- or under, are most likely for buildings and adjacent land.

The Amount Exonerated Column was added after 1798.

Rateable Value or Rental of Holding only occurred occasionally before 1828.

The Owner and Occupier were often placed in the wrong column.

Long Term Lessees were often listed as owners.

Tenant Farmers, who paid Land Tax as addition to their rent, may have been returned as owners.

Assessors became less interested in owners/occupiers of redeemed property whose names began to disappear from some assessments after 1798.

The SpreadSheet files below are all downloadable, simply click on the file to do so.

Copies of Land Tax 1781 - 1832.XLS
Land Tax Index 0f Occupiers.XLS
Land Tax Index of Proprietors.XLS