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Monday
Apr182011

New Online Tools Break Down How Your Tax Dollars Are Spent

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As millions rush to drop their last-minute federal tax returns in the mail, a new website is giving people the chance to see where every penny of their tax dollars will go.

Moderate Washington think tank Third Way has launched a federal tax receipt calculator that shows users a breakdown of how taxes are spent.

The calculator breaks down tax dollars in easy-to-understand categories, divided according to the federal budget.

Take a typical family of four -- a mother, father and two kids -- who earn an income of roughly $70,000 a year.  They pay roughly $7,000 a year in federal taxes.

Twenty percent of that income, some $1,400, pays into Social Security.  Another 20 percent pays for defense, including everything from the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to spending on weapons and other equipment.

A big chunk also pays for healthcare costs.  Medicare gets 13 percent, or about $900, and Medicaid gets eight percent, or about $550.

The rest of the money is split across numerous different programs, paying for everything from education to veterans affairs to arts spending.

In some cases, the tiny percentages are surprising.  Foreign aid, for example, gets less than one percent, or about $40.  Just $1 goes to cover the expenses of the White House.

The White House has also released its own version of the tax receipt calculator, making good on a promise from President Obama in his State of the Union address.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio