Are You Curious How Your Tax Dollars Were Spent?


Your Federal Taxpayer Receipt is a tool launched by the White House that allows an individual taxpayer to see how his or her tax dollars were spent. On the website, simply insert the amount of social security tax, Medicare tax, and income tax you paid (based on your W2), and the receipt will tell you the amount and percentage that went to various programs and categories. If you don't have your W2 readily available, the website has a drop-down menu with a limited number of estimates based on income and number of dependents.

The receipt divides your tax dollars into categories, including national defense, health care, natural resources, and science programs. For the extra curious, some of the categories expand to show more detail, and if you hover your mouse over the expanded sub-category, each line has even more detail including the corresponding budget function. (A full list of budget functions is available here.)

Your Federal Taxpayer Receipt was developed following President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address when he promised taxpayers they would be able to see how their federal tax dollars are spent. The amounts shown in the receipt are calculated based on each category’s percentage of overall spending in the tax year at issue.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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