3 Thoughts on the Taxpayer Receipt

Aside from the question of accuracy, I think it's a perfectly cool idea to itemize where our tax dollars go. Three reactions below:


1. An itemized list probably isn't going to reform our politics or dramatically raise our national IQ or forever change the way we think about taxing and spending, and that's OK.

2. What about tax credits, deductions and exemptions? A 2009 taxpayer might owe $5,400 in federal taxes, but after personal exemptions, the Earned Income Tax Credit, child tax credits, and various deductions, he might owe net zero except his Social Security taxes. Would we still itemize his taxes or would the receipt stop after "Social Security"?

3. If the point of the receipt is to educate the taxpayer, it might be interesting to have a section that places the taxpayer along a spectrum of filers so that he knows what percent of the country is paying more or less. Would this be awkward? Maybe. But at least it might get folks earning $225K to see what percentile they're in, in terms of taxable income.