Where, Oh Where, Did My Tax Money Go?

Jennifer Liu
Posted

You’ve signed here, initialed there, and double-checked all of those deducations and calculations.

It’s official: you’ve filed your 2014 taxes. Cue a collective sigh of relief.

But now that you’ve sent your paperwork off to the I.R.S., you might be wondering where all those tax dollars actually go.

And you wouldn’t be alone. So, to give Americans a better snapshot of how federal tax dollars are used, the National Priorities Project created an infographic breaking down how every cent of each $1 bill collected is split up among 13 different programs.

By far, the three categories that receive the largest portion of taxpayers’ money: the military, medicare and health, and interest on the federal debt—which together consume almost 70% of all tax dollars.

The bottom of the spectrum includes funding for housing and community, science, international affairs, and energy and environment, with each of these receiving less than two cents of every tax dollar.

Curious how it all adds up? Here’s a complete break down of where every penny goes:

  • Military: 27¢
  • Medicare and health: 26.5¢
  • Interest on federal debt: 15.3¢
  • Social security, unemployment and labor: 8.4¢
  • Veterans benefits: 5.8¢
  • Food and agriculture: 5¢
  • Government: 3.4¢
  • Education: 2.5¢
  • Transportation: 1.9¢
  • Energy and environment: 1.6¢
  • International affairs: 1.5¢
  • Science: 1.1¢
  • Housing and community: 0.1¢

If filing this year left you with more questions about how the tax system works, read up on Taxes 101.

  • Rebecca Hoffman

    What is included in each category? What’s “Housing and community”?