Tax Day 2015: How the Federal Government Spent Taxpayer Dollars Last Year

NPP Pressroom

National Priorities Project releases to-the-penny breakdown of how federal income taxes were spent, including tax receipts by state and an individual tax receipt calculator

April 9, 2015 - Millions of Americans will file their 2014 federal income tax returns on April 15 with no idea what the government actually does with all that money. And yet, almost half of all federal revenues come from individual income taxes.
That's why National Priorities Project (NPP) has released its annual to-the-penny breakdown of how the federal government spent each dollar of income taxes paid by individuals in 2014.

"Taxpayers might be surprised by how their tax dollars are allocated," said NPP's research director, Lindsay Koshgarian. "For example, 27 cents of every federal income tax dollar goes to the military, while just 2.5 cents goes to education.
"What we see in polling is that most Americans would like to see more domestic investment in initiatives such as education, infrastructure improvements, housing programs, and veterans' benefits; however, the way the federal government spends our tax dollars doesn't reflect those priorities."
Out of every federal income tax dollar paid in 2014, 27¢ went to military and war, 26.5¢ went to health programs, 15.3¢ went to interest on federal debt, 8.4¢ went to unemployment and labor, 5.8¢ went to veterans' benefits, and just pennies went to each of food and agriculture, government, education, transportation, housing and community, science, international affairs, and energy and environment programs.
To help Americans understand where their tax dollars go, National Priorities Project has anindividual tax receipt calculator which shows the dollar breakdown, including spending on specific initiatives like job training, Medicaid, customs and border protection, and the National Park Service, among others.
Also available is an average taxpayers receipt for the United States (on average, Americans paid about $13,000 in federal income taxes in 2014), as well as state-by-state receipts showing what the average taxpayer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia paid last year in federal income taxes. In 2014, Connecticut taxpayers paid the most on average in federal income taxes ($20,890), while West Virginia taxpayers paid the least ($8,068).

"Individual Americans pay a substantial portion of all federal tax revenues every year, which means they are paying the federal government's bills. That's why the federal budget belongs to all of us – and we should know how that money is being spent" Koshgarian said.  
Tax Day resources:

Graphic: How your 2014 tax dollar was spent
Average Taxpayer Receipts for all 50 States and District of Columbia
Individual Tax Receipt Calculator
Seven Things All Americans Should Know About Taxes

National Priorities Project (NPP) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization founded in 1983 that makes our complex federal budget transparent and accessible so people can exercise their right and responsibility to shape our nation's budget. In 2014, NPP was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of our pioneering work to track federal spending on the military and promote a U.S. federal budget that represents Americans' priorities. Learn more at