Where does my tax money go? This calculator tells you what happens after you pay the IRS

NPP Pressroom

Fast Company
Michael Grothaus

Today is Tax Day 2023, and for many Americans, that means it’s time to pay Uncle Sam. Despite their unpopularity, taxes are important because they help fund the public services we rely on—everything from healthcare to the military to highways. But have you ever wondered just how much of your tax money goes where after you write that check to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? Now a new online tool will give you a better idea.

The nifty tool, made by the nonprofit National Priorities Project, lets you see where the federal taxes you paid went. You use it by entering the amount of federal taxes you paid for a specific earnings year. The tool then spits out an itemized receipt showing how the federal government used your tax money.

For example, let’s say you paid Uncle Sam $15,000 in taxes for your income earned in 2022. According to the National Priorities Project’s tool, this is how your tax dollars were used:

  • $4,066.44 went to health spending, including on Medicaid, Medicare, the CDC, and mental health and substance abuse.
  • $2,665.58 went to military spending including for contractors, personnel, Lockheed Martin, and nuclear weapons.
  • $1,934.25 went to pay the interest on the U.S.’s debt.
  • $1,898.06 went to education, including college financial aid and K-12.
  • $1,260.12 went to unemployment and labor, including for the Child Tax Credit and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
  • $805.37 went to veteran benefits.
  • $667.92 went to food and agriculture, including food stamps and child lunch programs.
  • $526.15 went to transportation, including highways, public transport, and railways.
  • The remaining $732.72 of your tax dollars went to government servicespublic housingdisaster reliefforeign aidNASA, and, lastly, the Environmental Protection Agencywildfire management, and renewable energy.

Of course, these figures will vary depending on how much you actually paid in federal taxes in 2022. The National Priorities Project describes itself as a “non-partisan federal budget research organization” whose mission is to “make the federal budget accessible to the American public.”

You can check out the organization’s Tax Receipt tool here.