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Icon Information on BRG40 - (Collector of Taxes)

Series Information
(Collector of Taxes)

Series Description

Collection of taxes in Baltimore was first formalized in 1782 when the Special Commissioners were authorized to appoint a collector. After incorporation in 1797 the municipal government made no provision for a permanent tax collector, but appointed individuals to receive city and state levies as needed. By the early years of the nineteenth century it was the practice to appoint the same person as collector on a yearly basis. Finally, in 1812, the collector became a permanent city position.

The early collectors worked on a commission basis, receiving six to eight percent of all taxes collected in return for assuming personal responsibility for what was owed. Arrearages were a problem, and the city council often was forced to extend the collection period and even on occasion to relieve the collector from responsibility for delinquent taxes. In an attempt to expedite collections, the municipality declared in 1840 that all taxes were due strictly within one year of assessment. The next year the collector was allowed to seize and sell property of delinquent taxpayers.

The duties of the collector underwent no serious change until 1898 when the office was placed under the Department of Finance by a new city charter. In 1949 the collector's office was abolished and the function transferred to the treasurer's department. Collection of taxes was transferred again by the 1964 charter to a Bureau of Collections in the Department of Finance. This arrangement is presently still in effect.

Other collector records may be found in RG.4 and RG.5. For additional information see: Jacob H. Hollander, The Financial History of Baltimore, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989) and the 1898, 1949, and 1964 city charters.

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DateSeries NameDescriptionMSA Citation
  Details1814-1860City Tax AccountsJournal accounts of the collector relating to assessments owed and paid. Includes page references to and from general property tax books (RG.4, series 1), name of taxpayer, assessed value of property, and total taxes owed and presumably paid.BRG40-1
  Details1798-1852Accounts of Taxes CollectedIncludes cash book, 1798-1805; ledger, 1846-52; and journal, 1846-52. All record sums received from various taxes.BRG40-2
  Details1842Income Tax Assessments BRG40-3
  Details1797List of TaxablesList generated by a special tax levied on carriages, horses, carts, sulkies, wagons, riding chairs, and billiard tables. Includes names of 432 persons, type of object taxed, and the amount assessed. See published list in Richard J. Cox, "Baltimore City 1797 Special Tax List," National Genealogical Society Quarterly 66 (September 1978): 40-42.BRG40-4
  Details1804-1849Accounts of Taxes OwedRelated group of volumes including a ledger arranged first by taxpayer and separately by street address, ca. 1804-18; ledger listing taxpayers from A to J, 1818; and a distraint (property seizure) ledger covering the years 1845- 48.BRG40-5
  Details1873-1882, 1889-1898City Expenditures Covered by Tax LeviesAccounts of funds raised through taxes and spent by city agencies with listings of funds requested and appropriated by individual agencies.BRG40-6
  Details1842-1843, 1848-1849Miscellaneous Correspondence and Reports

Correspondence, reports, claims for unpaid taxes, and one notebook showing monies received for the year 1842. The majority of these items concern the determination of the amount assessable property in the city as the basis for taxation.

Other correspondence of the collector can be found in RG. 5, series 1. Collector's monthly financial reports are included among the series of reports and returns in RG. 41, series 1.

  Details1915-1962Bureau of Receipts, Tax Sale Surveys

Surveys of property for sale because of non-payment of taxes. Includes descriptions of the land and maps.

Records available on microfilm only (BCA 1753-59)

  Details1917-1969Bureau of Collections, Tax Sale Index Cards

Cards that provide information about properties sold for non-payment of taxes. Each card includes the street address, the ward, section, block, and lot numbers, the date, and the purchaser of the property.

Records are available on microfilm only (BCA 5045-46).

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