How your tax dollars are spent

Last week was tax day for those living in the United States as the deadline came and went for filing your 2013 tax returns. There has been much said and written about the merits of various government spending, and I’m not intending to debate that here with this article.

You may be wondering though exactly how your tax dollars are spent. The White House publishes an interesting little “tax payer receipt” page that allows you to get a relative idea of now much of your money goes toward various services.

Where did my tax dollars go?How your tax dollars are spent

The tool excludes social security and medicare taxes so services provided directly from those funds are not included in these totals. That said, the break down is as follows:

For each $100 in taxes you paid…

$25.19 – Healthcare

This includes programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It also includes Medicare payments to doctors not in addition to what is paid by Medicare taxes. And finally it includes all the programs related to drug and food safety, disease prevention and other healthcare related services.

$24.79 – National Defense

Of that total about $5.97 goes to salaries and benefits for our service men and women. $10.16 is spent in support of ongoing operations and the rest goes to research and development as well as other military activities.

$18.77 – Job and Family Security

This includes all of the various assistance programs related to unemployment, food, housing, disability, and other similar programs. Federal employee retirement programs are included in this total as well.

$5.44 – Veterans Benefits

Programs that support our military veterans.

$2.85 – Education and Job training

Includes programs that support our schools. Tuition assistance programs. Various employment training programs.

$2.06 – Immigration, Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice

Border protection as well as programs and agencies in support of enforcing the laws of the land.

$1.92 – Natural Resources, Energy, and Environment

Programs that protect our natural environment.

$.1.82 – International Affairs

Foreign assistance for humanitarian purposes. Embassies and foreign diplomats. Other programs related to our relations with other countries.

$1.15 – Agriculture

Programs that subsidize agricultural activities as well as research and development of new crops.

$1.13 – Science, Space and Technology Programs

NASA, the National Science Foundation, and other scientific research programs

$0.90 – Response to National Disasters

Direct assistance as well as small business loans to aid in recovery

$0.37 – Community, Area, and Regional Development

Programs that support our local communities

$4.89 – Other government programs

All the other miscellaneous programs

$8.64 – Interest

Interest on Treasury debt securities that finance our national debt.

As I said my purpose is not to debate the relative merits of these programs. What I do think is valuable is having a general understanding of where our money goes and the relative amounts.

If you want to see the specifics of exactly how much you “contributed” to each of these programs this past year, you can go to and enter your specific tax totals for a break down specific to your situation.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.