National Records of Scotland

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Inhabited House Tax Rolls Released Online

Inhabited House Tax Rolls Released Online

Thursday, 6 Mar 2014
Extract from the Inhabited House Tax roll for Kilmarnock for 1783

The National Records of Scotland is pleased to announce that it has made Inhabited House Tax rolls, 1778-1798, available online via the ScotlandsPlaces website.

Duties on inhabited houses were first imposed in 1778 and the resulting 64 rolls (or 'schedules') cover the whole of Scotland from 1778 until 1798, but with gaps for some areas for some years (reference E326/3).

On the 10,000 pages of the schedules you can find the names of householders and annual value of houses, but the initial assessment was on houses with an actual or notional rental value of at least £5 per annum. There was a sliding scale of duty for houses valued between £5 and £19, between £20 and £39 and £40 or over. By and large, for rural areas only a handful of individuals were liable for tax in each parish but for researchers interested in inhabitants of the prosperous towns during the 'Age of Improvement' the Inhabited House Tax schedules are a valuable source of information.

They are part of a new batch of records being added to the ScotlandsPlaces site  along with sources from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Access to the the Inhabited House Tax rolls on the ScotlandsPlaces site requires a subscription, but they are also available in the Historical Search Room at the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh (free of charge) and in the ScotlandsPeople Family History Centre.

In the extract from the 1783 schedule for Ayrshire below (E326/3/4/73), the celebrated Scottish author, James Boswell, is listed as one of three people in Auchinleck parish liable for the tax. He had become the 9th laird of Auchinleck shortly before this. In the schedule Auchinleck House was assessed as having a rental value of 25 pounds and was liable for 18 shillings and 9 pence in Inhabited House Tax.

Extract from the 1783 Inhabited House Tax schedule for Ayrshire (E326/3/4/73), listing James Boswell at Auchinleck House, having a rental value of 25 pounds and paying 18 shillings and 9 pence in Inhabited House Tax.