Photograph of Excise boat (Catalogue reference: CUST 143/15)

The National Archives holds most surviving English and many surviving Irish records of Excise officers. It does not hold personnel files for the Inland Revenue, which succeeded the Board of Excise, but details of Inland Revenue staff can be found in other records. Records of both services are held in several different series, mainly within the CUST and IR departments. There is no single index of people or places that can be used to find service records, so your search for information might require some patience.

  • What do I need to know before I start?

    • Try to find out:

      • in which county the person was posted
      • the dates of his service
  • What records can I see online?

    • Parliamentary papers (late 18th century - 20th century)

      Consult Parliamentary Papers for published reports of Excise activities. They can be searched online from subscribing organisations.

  • What other resources will help me find information?

    • Books

      Consult Ham's Year Book, Ham's Customs Year Book and Ham's Inland Revenue Year Book, available in major research libraries. These are indexed directories of Customs officers, Excise men and Inland Revenue officials covering 1875 to 1930.

Did you know?

Excise officers were introduced to collect taxes levied on home products such as alcoholic drinks, and as a result were sometimes very unpopular.

In 1849 the Board of Excise was amalgamated with the Board of Stamps and Taxes to form the Board of Inland Revenue.

In 1909 the excise responsibilities of the Inland Revenue were transferred to the newly established Board of Customs and Excise.