Surrey Land Tax Returns, 1780 to 1832, are now available to search and view online on Ancestry which can be used free of charge at Surrey History Centre and at Surrey Libraries.
The Land Tax Assessment books for all the parishes in the ancient county of Surrey for the years 1780 to 1832 are also available on microfilm at Surrey History Centre, and there is a surname index available in the search room.
To lessen the number of disputes at parliamentary elections an Act of Parliament (18 Geo.II, cap.18, 1744-45) required sealed duplicates of the Land Tax assessments to be delivered to the Clerk of the Peace by the local Commissioners of Land Tax. No person was to vote in a county election who had not been assessed to pay the Land Tax in the previous year. This Act appears to have been ignored and the measure was repeated in another Act of Parliament (20 Geo.III, cap.17, 1780).
Early assessments are in the form of manuscript booklets. Later pro forma booklets were used. Each assessment generally records names of owner and occupier, sum assessed and rental. From 1799 an additional column is added for sums assessed but exonerated (redeemed by payment of a lump sum); from c.1826 the form allows for a description of the type of property but this information is frequently recorded at an earlier date (although generally the actual name of the property is not given).
The Representation of the People Act 1832 (2&3 Will.IV, cap.45) removed the need for the Land Tax assessments to serve as electoral registers.