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Union County Town Property Tax Lists, 1826-1845
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Real Estate Tax Lists (1826-1845)
These records document the owners of town lots in Union County from 1826 to 1846, after the passage of the general property tax law in 1825 and before the Alfred Kelly tax law in 1846. Prior to 1826, town lots were not taxed, creating the impetus to overhaul the law in 1825 to generate more revenue for the state, county and township treasuries. The 1846 tax law once again completely overhauled the Ohio property taxation system, but unlike prior to 1825 town lots were continued to be taxed as they are today.
The first taxes levied on land in Ohio began in 1795, during territorial times, when an act entitled, “An act for raising county rates and levies” was proclaimed by the governing council. On April 16, 1803, the first act under statehood in regards to levying a property tax was passed. This law was further modified under acts passed in 1805, 1816 and 1824, but the essence of the original law remained the same. The law divided lands into three classes and fixed the rate of taxation for each class. A differentiation was held between resident proprietors and non-resident proprietors, which was duly noted on the tax duplicate. Accordingly the tax duplicate noted who was a resident proprietor (living in the taxing district) and who was non-resident proprietor (not living in the taxing district).
On February 3, 1825, the state legislature, feeling the effects of the “general property tax craze” that was sweeping throughout the United States, passed an act entitled “An act establishing an equitable mode of levying taxes in this state,” also known as a “general property tax.” The act declared, in short, that all real property, should be charged with a yearly tax and that all property was to be appraised at its true value. The new law abolished the differentiation between resident and non-resident proprietors. This law was overhauled by the “Kelley Law” of 1846 and further major revisions were made in 1852, 1859 and 1878. Today the property tax continues to be a chief source of state and local government revenue, since its original adoption in 1825.