Where Do Federal Taxes Go


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Make An Irs Payment On Mobile Via Irs2go

Why 61% of U.S. households didn’t pay federal income taxes in 2020

How it works:IRS2Go is the IRS official mobile app. You can use it to make payments via the mobile version of IRS Direct Pay for free or with a debit or credit card .

Cost: App is free

  • Can generate login security codes for certain online services .

  • Can also use the app to find free tax software and tax help.


  • Only Direct Pay, credit card and debit card payment methods are mobile-friendly.

  • Using Direct Pay via the app is free, but paying with debit or credit cards still comes with a processing fee.

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Who Needs To File

Most U.S. citizens and most people who work in the United States need to pay taxes on the income they earn above a set minimum amount. Even if you make less than the minimum, you may want to file your taxes. To find out whether or not you should file a tax return, see Do I Need to File a Tax Return.

How To Pay Your Taxes Online To The Irs

There are a few ways to pay your IRS taxes online:

  • IRS Direct Pay: allows you to pay using a bank debit without creating an account.
  • EFTPS: similar to Direct Pay, but requires a registered account and IRS verification to use. Businesses should use EFTPS to pay taxes online. Note: accounts can take weeks to be verified and used the first time.
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    How The Federal Debt Has Trended Over Time

    Note: This visualization was created using the U.S. Department of the Treasurys Monthly Statement of the Public Debt as the data source for federal debt of the U.S.

    Your Guide to Americas Finances, Federal Debt Trends Over Time.

    How did we end up with $22.7 trillion in federal debt? The change in federal debt is related to the deficit or surplus each year. When federal spending exceeds federal revenue, the government borrows money to make up the difference.* The total debt is an accumulation of deficits over time, minus any repayments of debt, among other factors.

    How does the U.S. cover its costs? Well, it borrows money from other sources. Most federal debt is financed through federal trust funds and domestic investors in the United States. Foreign investors, including other governments, also own part of the debt.

    How Often Does The Budget Change

    Infographic Of The Day: Where Did Your Tax Dollars Go?

    Depends on the year. From 2017 to 2019, government spending was fairly consistent. But ICYMI, 2020 and 2021 were a little different. And the gov took drastic measures to minimize the pandemics effect on the economy, spending way more on health care and income . Social Security and defense spending stayed about the same.

    PS: If you’re wondering how that math works out, meet the federal budget deficit. Aka the negative difference between what the gov spends and what it collects in taxes. It’s been increasing over the last two decades . But all the pandemic relief efforts drove it higher than ever.

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    Most Individual Taxes California $2345b

    In total, California contributes the most individual taxes to the federal budget.

    As of the most recent tax year for which figures were available , Californians paid over $234 billion in federal income taxes. Thats about 15% of the national total, and nearly 95 times as much as paid by residents of Vermont.

    Set Up A Payment Plan

    The IRS offers payment plans if you cant pay all or even anything you owe right away. The important thing is that you dont ignore your plight, hoping that it will go away, because it wont.

    You can set up a monthly installment agreement with the IRS, allowing you to pay what you owe over time. You can even decide how much you want to pay per month, at least to some extent. The entire balance has to be paid off within 72 months, so your minimum payment would be what you owe divided by 72. Leave some room for interest and penalties when youre making your calculations.

    Youre not prohibited from paying more than the amount youve committed to in any month, and you can retire the debt sooner and minimize interest charges by doing so.

    The IRS will still charge the late-payment penalty as well as interest, and theres a one-time processing fee to set up the plan$149 as of 2021. But if you apply for the installment agreement online, and if you agree to have the monthly amount taken from your bank account by direct debit, this one-time processing fee drops to $31. Direct debit is required if you owe more than $25,000.

    You dont have to qualify for the installment agreement by submitting a collection information statement to prove your assets and income, at least not if you owe less than $50,000. You can apply online using the Online Payment Agreement Application on the IRS website.

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    Protect Yourself From Tax

    Tax ID theft occurs when someone steals your personal information to file a tax return using your personal data. Usually, the fraudulent tax filer will use your Social Security number to file your return in order to collect a refund. To protect yourself from tax ID theft, you can obtain a six-digit Identity Protection PIN from the IRS. IP PINs are known only to you and the IRS so the IRS is able to confirm your identity when you file your return. Learn more about how the IP PIN works and how to apply.

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    Where Do My Taxes And Fees Go

    Straight Talk: What do your federal and state taxes pay for?

    The taxes and fees for government services that you pay each year fund federal, state, and local government programs. Combining all of these taxes and fees, the graphic below illustrates where the average $1 in taxes and fees goes.A little less than a quarter of your taxes and fees is collected by the state government.

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    What The Federal Debt To Gdp Ratio Looks Like

    Notes: This visualization was created using the U.S. Department of the Treasurys Monthly Statement of the Public Debt as the data source for federal debt of the U.S. GDP figures come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. GDP data is current as of June 2019 and is seasonally adjusted at an annual rate to show expected GDP for the year. Your Guide to Americas Finances uses GDP for the fiscal year, not the calendar year, to facilitate an appropriate comparison.

    Your Guide to Americas Finances, Federal Debt Trends Over Time.

    Editor’s Note: This sentence has been corrected. The previous version referenced federal revenue exceeding federal spending.

    What Is The Medicare Payroll Tax

    Employees and employers each contribute 1.45 percent of earnings by workers to Medicare, which is levied on all income. Since 2013, an additional 0.9 percent tax has been imposed on employees with earnings exceeding a threshold between $125,000 and $250,000 depending on filing status those additional taxes are not matched by the employer.

    The revenue from payroll taxes help fund Medicares Hospital Insurance program, which is used to pay for hospital stays and a few forms of home healthcare, such as hospice care. For 2019, HI tax revenues were 1.3 percent of GDP, an amount that has been relatively constant for 25 years. The HI tax was originally the primary source of revenues for Medicare before the program grew to include Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug coverage. The taxes dedicated to HI now make up 36 percent of Medicares total inflows, a share that is projected to decrease going forward.

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    Biggest Percent Increase In Federal Income Taxes

    MoneyRates.com first conducted this study of what individuals in different states pay in federal taxes five years ago. People in most states are paying more now than they were then, but there are a couple of exceptions.

    On average, people in Florida have seen the biggest increase in their federal income tax bills. The average federal tax paid per adult in the state of Florida has risen by 41.21% in just five years.

    Average personal income tax burdens rose in 48 of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia over the last five years. The lone exceptions were Wyoming and North Dakota. Notably, these are two of only three states to also see a decline in average income per adult over that same five years.

    Here are the states that have seen the largest percentage increases in average tax burden per person in the past five years:


    Why You Should Change Your Withholding Or Make Estimated Tax Payments

    Where Do Our Federal Tax Dollars Go?

    If you want to avoid a large tax bill, you may need to change your withholding. Changes in your life, such as marriage, divorce, working a second job, running a side business or receiving any other income without withholding can affect the amount of tax you owe. And if you work as an employee, you don’t have to make estimated tax payments if you have more tax withheld from your paycheck. This may be a convenient option if you also have a side job or a part-time business.

    Some income is not subject to withholding. This includes some income from self-employment, the sharing economy or some rental activities. Be sure to make estimated tax payments on those sources of income throughout the year. You may also make estimated tax payments if the withholding from your salary, pension or other income doesn’t cover your income tax for the year.

    You make your estimated payments based on the income you expect to earn and any credits you expect to receive in the year. You can use your prior year tax return as a guide and Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals has a worksheet to help you figure your estimated payments.

    You can use estimated tax payments to pay both income tax and self-employment tax .

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    Knowing The Difference Between Deficit And Debt

    In 2019, the federal government spent more than it collected, resulting in a $984 billion deficit.

    Are the federal deficit and national debt the same thing? No, but the budget deficit does have an impact on federal debt. In simplest terms, when spending exceeds revenue, the difference is a deficit. On the other hand, a budget surplus occurs when revenue exceeds spending. The last time the government had a surplus was in 2001.

    To pay for a deficit, the government mostly takes on debt. In 2019, the national debt grew to $22.7 trillion, which averages to more than $69,000 per individual in the United States, using annual population estimates provided by the Census Bureau.

    Changes Expected In Next Years Study

    Because it takes a while for the Internal Revenue Service to finish collecting taxes, reviewing returns and compiling data, information based on tax returns is generally a couple years old. That means there might be an especially big change in tax burdens in next years version of this study.

    The Tax Reform Act was passed in late 2017, which means it first took effect for the 2018 tax year. We expect data for that year to be available in time for next years study.

    While changes to the tax brackets made by that law will apply uniformly to people across the country, one change has impacted people in some states much more than others.

    Capping the state and local tax deduction at $10,000 will be especially hard on taxpayers in states where:

    • State income tax rates are high
    • Local property taxes are high
    • Average incomes are relatively high

    While residents of some states will mostly benefit from the general lowering of tax rates that was part of the Tax Reform Act, the capping of the SALT deduction has likely caused others to owe more taxes.

    States with the characteristics listed above are likely to climb higher on the lists for all categories of this study: total taxes paid, per capita taxes paid, percentage tax burden and increase over time.

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    How And Why Does Spending Differ Across States

    State and local governments spent $10,161 per capita in 2019, but per capita direct spending varies widely across states.

    Among the states, Alaska had the highest per capita state and local spending in 2019 at $17,596, followed by New York and Wyoming . As is typical, the District of Columbias per capita spending exceeded all states at $21,066.10 Arizona and Georgia had the lowest per capita spending in 2019.


    Differences in spending arise from variations in geography, demographics, history, and other external factors. They can also arise from state policy choices, such as generosity of service levels, eligibility rules for social services, or tax policy. For example, New York has relatively high elementary and secondary education spending even though it has relatively few school-age children for its overall population and a bigger share of kids in private school than most states.11 But New Yorks per capita spending is relatively high because it has more teachers per student enrollment and higher teacher salaries than most states.12 In contrast, Idaho has a relatively high number of school-age children to educate for its overall population and a high rate of attendance in public schools, but it has relatively low per capita education spending because it employs fewer teachers per student and has lower payroll costs than most states.13

    Undelivered Federal Tax Refund Checks

    Policy Basics: Where Do Our Federal Tax Dollars Go?

    Refund checks are mailed to your last known address. If you move without notifying the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service , your refund check may be returned to the IRS.

    If you were expecting a federal tax refund and did not receive it, check the IRS’Wheres My Refund page. You’ll need to enter your Social Security number, filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. You may be prompted to change your address online.

    You can also to check on the status of your refund. Wait times to speak with a representative can be long. But, you can avoid waiting by using the automated phone system. Follow the message prompts when you call.

    If you move, submit a Change of Address – Form 8822 to the IRS you should also submit a Change of Address to the USPS.

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    Agriculture And Other Programs

    Less than 2% of the budget $105 billion in 2022 goes to agriculture programs, mortgage service providers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, deposit insurance, higher education, and other government services. In 2020, this family of other programs got a new addition: the Coronavirus Relief Fund. That, along with a huge increase in Small Business Administration funding, caused this kind of spending to balloon nearly tenfold in 2020 to $969 billion before dropping off to $100 billion last year.

    How Tax Brackets Work

    The United States has a progressive tax system, meaning people with higher taxable incomes pay higher federal income tax rates.

    • Being “in” a tax bracket doesn’t mean you pay that federal income tax rate on everything you make. The progressive tax system means that people with higher taxable incomes are subject to higher federal income tax rates, and people with lower taxable incomes are subject to lower federal income tax rates.

    • The government decides how much tax you owe by dividing your taxable income into chunks also known as tax brackets and each chunk gets taxed at the corresponding tax rate. The beauty of this is that no matter which bracket youre in, you wont pay that tax rate on your entire income.

    • The percentage of your taxable income that you pay in taxes is called your effective tax rate. To determine effective tax rate, divide your total tax owed on Form 1040 by your total taxable income .

    • Example #1: Lets say youre a single filer with $32,000 in taxable income. That puts you in the 12% tax bracket in 2021. But do you pay 12% on all $32,000? No. Actually, you pay only 10% on the first $9,950 you pay 12% on the rest.

    • That’s the deal only for federal income taxes. Your state might have different brackets, a flat income tax or no income tax at all.

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    Expert Insights On Federal Funding Disparities

  • Why do some states receive more federal funding than others?
  • What role does federal funding play in state government finances?
  • Is the current allocation of funding fair and equitable? Why or why not?
  • Associate Professor of Public Policy and Economics in the McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University, and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research

    Professor of Politics at Oglethorpe University

    Federal Estimated Tax Payments Made In 2021

    A Closer Look: Where Does Your Tax Money Go?

    Enter the federal estimated income tax payments made in 2021. You may include the credit applied from your 2020 federal income tax overpayment only if the overpayment is included on line 27. You can deduct only the federal estimated income tax payments made during calendar year 2021.

    For example, include a federal estimated income tax payment for 2020 paid in January 2021, but not an estimated tax payment for 2021 paid in January 2022.

    Federal income tax includes the net investment income tax on federal form 8960 and any payments made in 2021 associated with federal section 965 net tax liability.

    Taxpayers can deduct their entire estimated payment amount on line 31. However, certain amounts must be added back on line 28, including the following:

    Additional Medicare tax withholding from line 24 of federal form 8959, net investment income tax from federal form 8960, and federal section 965 net tax liability payments are not added back on line 28.

    If a taxpayer has elected to pay federal section 965 net tax liability in installments for federal purposes, that taxpayer may only include the actual amount of the federal installment payment paid in 2021 in calculating the Iowa deduction for 2021.

    All federal estimated tax payments made in 2021 are divided between spouses in the same ratio as their incomes not subject to federal withholding for the 2021 tax year.

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