National Priorities Project
nominated for 2014 Nobel Peace Prize
Tax Day shows how your income taxes were spent – those are the taxes due each year on April 15. Tax Day materials do not include the payroll taxes that directly fund Social Security and Medicare.
Tax Day 2013 shows how federal funds were spent during fiscal year 2012, the time period that most closely corresponds to your tax filing for income earned in calendar year 2012. In order to do this analysis, National Priorities Project (NPP) separates federal funds from trust funds. Trust funds, generated from sources such as payroll taxes, can only be used for specific programs like Social Security and Medicare. All other funds are federal funds, including revenue from your federal income taxes.
Thus, NPP used projected federal fund outlays for fiscal 2012 as reported by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Budget of the United States Government, fiscal year 2013, in the Public Budget Database.
When OMB publishes federal budget data, it uses several categories of spending called functions, and within those, subfunctions. While NPP uses 13 different budget categories to sort federal spending, these do not correspond to the official government functions. Rather, they are meant to organize the many government subfunctions into intuitive groupings. In order to create Tax Day 2013, federal fund outlays were sorted into the following categories:
Elementary, secondary, higher and vocational education.
Subfunctions: 501, 502, 503
Natural resources and environment, conservation, and supply and use of energy.
Subfunctions: 271, 272, 274, 276, 301, 302, 303, 304, 306
Agriculture as well as nutritional assistance programs.
Subfunctions: 351, 352, 605
Law enforcement and the justice system, commerce, overhead costs of the federal government, and undistributed offsetting receipts.
Subfunctions: 372, 373, 376, 751, 752, 753, 754, 801, 802, 803, 804, 805, 806, 808, 809, 922, 929, 951, 952, 953, 954, 959
Housing assistance and credit, community development, disaster relief, and services supporting social needs.
Subfunctions: 371, 451, 452, 453, 506, 604, 925
Annual interest paid on the national debt, net of interest income received by assets the federal government owns.
Subfunctions: 901, 902, 903, 908, 909
Diplomatic, development, and humanitarian activities abroad.
Subfunctions: 151, 153, 154, 155
Health care programs and services, and occupational and consumer health & safety.
Subfunctions: 551, 552, 554, 571, 921, 926
National defense, nuclear weapons activities, war costs, and international security assistance.
Subfunctions: 051, 053, 054, 152
General science research and space flight research and activities.
Subfunctions: 251, 252
Income security programs, federal employee retirement and disability, and job training.
Subfunctions 504, 505, 601, 602, 603, 609, 651, 923
Development and support of air, water, ground, and other transportation.
Subfunctions: 401, 402, 403, 407
Health care, housing, education and income security for veterans.
Subfunctions: 701, 702, 703, 704, 705
Your personalized tax receipt shows how much of your federal income taxes went to each of the 13 categories specified above. In addition, the receipt shows how much of your taxes went to particular programs within each of those categories. With the exception of two, all of those programs directly corresopnd to subfunctions or accounts reported in the Public Budget Database. For instance, “Disaster Relief” simply corresponds to subfunction 453, and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children simply reports federal fund outlays for the account by that name.
However, two items listed on the tax receipt represent the combination of several accounts. They are as follows:
Your Tax Receipt offers the option to share a version of the receipt that reflects the average taxpayer’s federal income tax and how that money was spent. That receipt shows total federal income tax paid by the average taxpayer as $11,266. That amount reflects the average income tax liability across all individual federal income tax returns with positive tax liability, as reported by the IRS in SOI Tax Stats – Individual Statistical Tables Table 1.1, 2010, the most recent year available.