Monday, April 18, 2011

Where Does My Tax Dollars Go?

Note: This is for the United States tax payers only.

Now that it is time to file your tax returns, people are once again curious of what happens to the tax money they pay. This time the White House is better prepared to answer that question. On tax day, the government launched an official taxpayer receipt.

You enter how much you paid in income taxes, how much you paid for Social Security and Medicare and taxpayer receipt will give you a breakdown of how your tax dollars are spent on priorities like education, veterans benefits, or health care.

The screengrab below shows the breakdown of taxes for a typical family.

taxreceipt_whitehouse

Image credit: NPR

The White House Taxpayer receipt is not the only tax calculator around. On February this year Google launched the Data Viz Challenge–a five week competition that asked developers to visualize how federal income tax are spent. From among more than 40 entries, today Google picked up a winner.

data-viz-winner

The rest of the entries are available on Data Viz Challenge’s website for viewing, so you should have plenty different ways of visualizing your task returns. Below is a short video that offers a glimpse of a few of them.

The Data Viz Challenge is based on the tax calculator called What We Pay For designed by a couple computer engineers in Minnesota. You can give that a try too. There is another federal tax receipt at Third Way.

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