Your Tax Dollars
Activity Type: Group/Individual
Chapter: 5 & 6
Objective: Students will be able to understand graphically where their tax dollars go.
- Students will brainstorm a list of up to three careers or jobs they are interested in pursuing after high school or college.
- Students will then research the starting salaries for their choices. There are various on-line sites to help students find this information. Salary.com is one.
- After researching their potential incomes, students will use NPP’s on-line tax estimator (http://nationalpriorities.org/en/analysis/2013/taxday-2013/) to calculate a rough estimate of the amount of federal income taxes they will potentially owe each year.
- Using the Tax Chart on NPP’s website (http://nationalpriorities.org/en/analysis/2013/taxday-2013/) students will see what their tax dollars would fund. (Note: enter their estimated annual federal income taxes and have the choice of seeing it visualized as either a bar chart or a receipt.)
- Use the following questions to help the students process their findings in a discussion or in writing:
- What stands out the most about what you just learned?
- Where did the most/the least of your tax dollars go?
- Would you have allocated your tax dollars differently? Why or why not?
- What did this make you think about?
- What questions do you have?
- What portion of the taxes spent would have an impact on you?
- Are taxes worth it?
Extension Activity: Ask the students to engage their parent(s)/guardians/family members in creating their own federal income tax receipt and have a discussion using the questions outlined in #5. Students can summarize their discussion with their family and share with the class, if interested.
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