Defense, Health Care: How Your Tax Dollars Are Spent

how your tax dollars are spent

Most Americans have (hopefully) paid their taxes by now – and might be curious to know where all that money is going.

The White House has released its annual federal taxpayer receipt. an interactive breakdown of how your tax dollars are being spent.

The tool lets you enter how much you paid in Social Security, Medicare and income taxes, and then spits out the breakdown of how those dollars will be spent.

The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman moored in Palma de Mallorca, Majorca, 6 April 2014. One quarter of U.S. tax revenue goes toward the military, according to the annual taxpayer receipt, a breakdown of how those taxes you just paid are being spent. MONTSERRAT T DIEZ / EPA

If you don’t have your tax receipt handy, you can select an income estimate or just take a look at the percentage breakdowns.

National defense takes up about a quarter of the income tax pie, and within that a big chunk is going

to operations, equipment and supplies. Military personnel salaries and benefits also take a fair amount.

Health care also accounts for another quarter of income tax payments, and that includes Medicaid, Medicare doctor payments and health insurance for children.

Another big wedge, accounting for nearly 20 percent of income tax payments: An area the White House calls “job and family security.” That includes food and nutrition assistance, unemployment insurance and tax credits for parents and low-income Americans.

The tools breaks down Social Security and Medicare hospital insurance separately from income taxes, so you can see how much of your tax bill went to those programs as well.

Nearly 100 million taxpayers had filed their tax returns by April 4, the most recent data available from the IRS. Most of those taxpayers were getting a refund, with the average tax refund at $2,792 as of April 4.

Want more information? CNBC’s Tax Tracker offers a detailed breakdown of where taxes are coming from and going to, including tax payments by states.


Category: Taxes

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