Why Don't Taxpayers Get a Receipt?
If retail stores can issue them, then the government can too. At least that's what one think tank says.
As Americans spend the next three weeks rushing to file their income taxes before the April 18 deadline, most will likely come to the realization that the amount they paid the federal government is greater than any other purchase they made that year. There’s a good chance their state income taxes will rank high on the list too.
Although each taxpayer transfers thousands of dollars to the federal and state government, they'll get nothing to show for it. Sure -- there's roads, education programs, a standing military and things like that. But they don't get a tangible piece of paper that comes with nearly every other purchase, large or small: an itemized receipt.
David Kendall, a fellow at the think tank
His organization already has already created a web-based tool that anyone can use to make the calculations, but he wants the IRS to automatically mail out individualized data to
For example, a single person living in
- $747.49 paid for health and human services for at-risk Californians
- $730.84 funded K through 12 education
- $250.49 went toward higher education
For starters, it would help increase civic engagement and contribute to a meaningful debate about taxes spending. It could also help with tax compliance.
“Some people don’t feel like they’re getting good value for their money,”
So far, the plan has several advocates, among them the president. Several congressmen have expressed interest in having the the IRS distribute a receipt as well, and Sen. Mark Begich has asked
“I think the actual dollar amount provides that sort of immediate context,”