Fighting for a U.S. federal budget that prioritizes peace, economic security and shared prosperity
April 15, 2022
National Priorities Project's Tax Day shows how your individual income taxes were spent in 2021. Those are a portion of the taxes withheld from your paycheck.
Tax Day materials do not include corporate taxes or the individual payroll taxes that directly fund Social Security and Medicare. To read more about where federal revenues come from, visit Where the Money Comes From.
Our Tax Day materials show how federal funds were spent during the corresponding fiscal year, the time period that most closely corresponds to the calendar year for which income taxes are due.
In order to do this analysis, we separate federal funds from trust funds. Trust funds, generated from sources such as payroll taxes, can only be used for specific programs like Social Security and Medicare. All other funds are federal funds, including revenue from your federal income taxes, and can be used for a wide variety of purposes.
We use analyzed federal fund “outlays” for for the fiscal year as reported by the White House Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) and available from the Government Printing Office. These are the most recent available data for legally enacted federal spending at the time of publishing. In some cases, we use additional federal government data sources.
When OMB publishes federal budget data, it uses several categories of spending called functions, and within those, subfunctions.
NPP uses 13 different budget categories to sort federal spending. These do not correspond exactly to the official government functions. Rather, they are meant to organize the many government subfunctions into more intuitive groupings. In order to create our Tax Day materials, federal fund outlays were sorted into the following categories:
Elementary, secondary, higher and vocational education.
Subfunctions: 501, 502, 503
Natural resources and environment, conservation, and supply and use of energy.
Subfunctions: 271, 272, 274, 276, 301, 302, 303, 304, 306
Agriculture as well as nutritional assistance programs.
Subfunctions: 351, 352, 605
Law enforcement and the justice system, commerce, overhead costs of the federal government, and undistributed offsetting receipts.
Subfunctions: 372, 373, 376, 751, 752, 753, 754, 801, 802, 803, 804, 805, 806, 808, 809, 922, 929, 951, 952, 953, 954, 959
Housing assistance and credit, community development, disaster relief, and services supporting social needs.
Subfunctions: 371, 451, 452, 453, 506, 604, 925
Annual interest paid on the national debt, net of interest income received by assets the federal government owns.
Subfunctions: 901, 902, 903, 908, 909
Diplomatic, development, and humanitarian activities abroad.
Subfunctions: 151, 153, 154, 155
Health care programs and services, and occupational and consumer health & safety.
Subfunctions: 551, 552, 554, 571, 921, 926
National defense, nuclear weapons activities, war costs, and international security assistance.
Subfunctions: 051, 053, 054, 152
General science research and space flight research and activities.
Subfunctions: 251, 252
Income security programs, federal employee retirement and disability, and job training.
Subfunctions 504, 505, 601, 602, 603, 609, 651, 923
Development and support of air, water, ground, and other transportation.
Subfunctions: 401, 402, 403, 407
Health care, housing, education and income security for veterans.
Subfunctions: 701, 702, 703, 704, 705
NPP’s personalized and state average tax receipts shows how much of your federal income taxes went to each of the 13 categories specified above, using federal fund outlays data from the OMB Public Budget Database, as described.
In addition, the receipt shows how much of your taxes went to particular programs within each of those categories, using data from OMB’s Public Budget Database, as follows:
Includes outlays under Education subfunctions for the Bureau, “Office of Federal Student Aid.”
Includes outlays for the Bureau “Office of Elementary and Secondary Education." This includes emergency COVID aid to schools.
Includes outlays under Energy & Environment subfunctions for the Bureau, “Environmental Protection Agency.”
Includes outlays under Energy & Environment subfunctions for the Account, "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy."
Includes outlays under Food & Agriculture subfunctions for the Account, “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.”
Includes under Food & Agriculture subfunctions for the Account, “Child Nutrition Programs.” Includes school lunch, school breakfast, summer meal programs, and more.
Includes outlays under Government subfunctions for the Bureaus, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection" and "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement."
Includes outlays in Government subfunctions under the account "Coronavirus Relief Fund" within the Bureau "Departmental Offices" (Department of Treasury).
Includes outlays under Health Care subfunctions for the Account, “Grants to States for Medicaid," and outlays under Health care subfunction 571, "Medicare."
Includes outlays under Health subfunctions for Bureau "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
Includes outlays under Housing & Community subfunctions for accounts "Disaster Relief Fund" and "Disaster Loan Programs Account."
Includes outlays under Housing & Community subfunctions for the Account, “Homeless assistance grants.”
Includes outlays under International Affairs subfunctions for the Agency, “Department of State.”
Includes outlays under Military subfunctions for the Bureau, “Military Personnel.”
Includes contracts awarded by the Department of Defense in FY 2021 according to USASpending.gov. Accessed April 10, 2022.
Includes outlays for subfunction 053, “Atomic Energy Defense Activities.” This includes nuclear weapons and related activities in the Department of Energy. It does not include expenses for nuclear weapons delivery systems in the Department of Defense.
Includes outlays under Science subfunctions for the Agency, “National Aeronautics and Space Administration.”
Includes outlays under Science subfunctions for the Agency, “National Science Foundation.”
Includes outlays for Transportation subfunctions under Bureau "Federal Transit Administration."
Includes outlays for Transportation subfunctions for the Bureau, “Federal Railroad Administration."
Includes outlays for Unemployment and Labor subfunctions for account, "Federal Additional Unemployment Compensation Program, Recovery."
Many people and families received federal aid checks during the pandemic. Includes outlays under Unemployment and Labor subfunctions for account, "U.S. Coronavirus payments."
Includes outlays under Unemployment & Labor subfunctions for the Account, “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.”
Includes outlays under Veterans Benefits subfunctions for the Bureau, “Veterans Health Administration.”
Includes outlays under Veterans Benefits subfunctions for the Bureau, "Benefits Programs," and the subfunction, "Income security for veterans."
The averages are calculated by dividing income tax amount by the total number of applicable returns. The income tax amount represents total income taxes owed after deductions and credits but does not reflect refundable tax credits, such as the refundable portion of the EITC.
This method doesn't account for differences in taxes paid due to the pandemic, or other changes.