Senators’ bill would give taxpayers receipt reflecting government spending, borrowing
March 2, 2011
WASHINGTON – Believing that taxpayers are entitled to see exactly where their money is spent and how much Uncle Sam borrows each year, U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Scott Brown today introduced legislation that would require the IRS to give each taxpayer a detailed receipt.
Under their legislation, every taxpayer who files an income tax return would receive an itemized list – like a grocery store receipt – that shows where their payroll and income taxes are spent. The receipt would include key categories such as interest on the national debt, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, national defense, education, veterans’ benefits, environmental protection, foreign aid – and, last but not least, Congress.
Taxpayers also would be directed to a website where they could get more detailed information on programs not included on the one-page receipt. Additionally, the receipt would provide taxpayers with the amount of debt per American – which currently is more than $45,000.
“During this tough economy, American taxpayers deserve to know exactly how the government is spending their hard-earned dollars,” said Brown, a Massachusetts Republican. “Our bipartisan legislation will help give Americans the tools they need to better understand federal spending. As we work together to rein in our spending and tackle our national debt, it is important that we provide transparency and accountability to the process to help us determine what spending we need and what we can live without.”
Added Nelson, “Taxpayers have a right to know where their money goes, how much Uncle Sam is borrowing on their behalf, and what they get in return for it.”
The bill will be heard by the Finance Committee, of which Nelson, a Florida Democrat, is a member.
Here is a PDF of a sample receipt,and following is the text of the lawmakers’ legislation:
1ST SESSION S. ll
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require the Secretary
of the Treasury to provide each individual taxpayer a receipt for an
income tax payment which itemizes the portion of the payment which
is allocable to various Government spending categories.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
Mr. NELSON of Florida (for himself and Mr. BROWN of Massachusetts) introduced
the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require
the Secretary of the Treasury to provide each individual
taxpayer a receipt for an income tax payment which
itemizes the portion of the payment which is allocable
to various Government spending categories.
1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa2
tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
3 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
4 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Taxpayer Receipt
1 SEC. 2. ITEMIZED FEDERAL TAX RECEIPT.
2 (a) IN GENERAL.—Chapter 77 of the Internal Rev3
enue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the
4 following new section:
5 ‘‘SEC. 7529. FEDERAL TAX RECEIPT.
6 ‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall send to
7 every taxpayer who files an individual income tax return
8 for any taxable year an itemized Federal tax receipt show9
ing a proportionate allocation (in money terms) of the tax10
payer’s total tax payment for such taxable year among
11 major expenditure categories for the fiscal year ending in
12 such taxable year. The Federal tax receipt shall also in13
clude 2 separate line items showing the amount of Federal
14 debt per legal United States resident at the end of such
15 fiscal year, and the amount of additional borrowing per
16 legal United States resident by the Federal Government
17 in such fiscal year.
18 ‘‘(b) TOTAL TAX PAYMENTS.—For purposes of sub19
section (a), the total tax payment of a taxpayer for any
20 taxable year is equal to the sum of—
21 ‘‘(1) the tax imposed by subtitle A for such tax22
able year (as shown on such taxpayer’s return), plus
23 ‘‘(2) the tax imposed by section 3101 on wages
24 received by such taxpayer during such taxable year.
25 ‘‘(c) DETERMINATION OF PROPORTIONATE ALLOCA26
TION OF TAX PAYMENT AMONG MAJOR EXPENDITURE
1 CATEGORIES.—For purposes of determining a propor2
tionate allocation described in subsection (a), not later
3 than 60 days after the end of any fiscal year, the Director
4 of the Congressional Budget Office shall provide to the
5 Secretary the percentage of Federal outlays for such fiscal
6 year for the following categories and subcategories of Fed7
8 ‘‘(1) Social Security.
9 ‘‘(2) National defense.
10 ‘‘(A) Overseas combat operations.
11 ‘‘(3) Medicare.
12 ‘‘(4) Low-income assistance programs.
13 ‘‘(A) Housing assistance.
14 ‘‘(B) Food stamps and other food pro15
16 ‘‘(5) Other Federal health programs.
17 ‘‘(A) Medicaid, Children’s Health Insur18
ance Program, and other public health pro19
20 ‘‘(B) National Institutes of Health and
21 other health research and training programs.
22 ‘‘(C) Food and Drug Administration, Con23
sumer Product Safety Commission, and other
24 regulatory health and safety activities.
25 ‘‘(6) Unemployment benefits
1 ‘‘(7) Net interest on the Federal debt.
2 ‘‘(8) Veterans benefits and services.
3 ‘‘(9) Education.
4 ‘‘(A) K-12 and vocational education.
5 ‘‘(B) Higher education.
6 ‘‘(C) Job training and assistance.
7 ‘‘(10) Federal employee retirement and dis8
9 ‘‘(11) Highway, mass transit, and railroad
11 ‘‘(12) Mortgage finance (Federal National
12 Mortgage Association, Federal Home Loan Mort13
gage Corporation, Federal Housing Administration,
14 and other housing finance programs).
15 ‘‘(13) Justice and law enforcement funding, in16
cluding Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal
17 courts, and Federal prisons.
18 ‘‘(14) Natural resources, land, and water man19
agement and conservation funding, including Na20
21 ‘‘(15) Foreign aid.
22 ‘‘(16) Science and technology research and ad23
24 ‘‘(A) National Aeronautics and Space Ad25
1 ‘‘(17) Air transportation, including Federal
2 Aviation Administration.
3 ‘‘(18) Farm subsidies.
4 ‘‘(19) Energy funding, including renewable en5
ergy and efficiency programs, Strategic Petroleum
6 Reserve, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commis7
8 ‘‘(20) Disaster relief and insurance, including
9 Federal Emergency Management Administration.
10 ‘‘(21) Diplomacy and embassies.
11 ‘‘(22) Environmental Protection Agency and
12 pollution control programs.
13 ‘‘(23) Internal Revenue Service and United
14 States Treasury operations.
15 ‘‘(24) Coast Guard and maritime programs.
16 ‘‘(25) Community Development Block Grants.
17 ‘‘(26) Congress and legislative branch activities.
18 ‘‘(27) United States Postal Service.
19 ‘‘(28) Executive Office of the President.
20 ‘‘(29) Other Federal spending.
21 ‘‘(d) ADDITIONAL MAJOR EXPENDITURE CAT22
EGORIES.—With respect to each fiscal year, the Director
23 of the Congressional Budget Office shall include additional
24 categories and subcategories of Federal spending for pur25
poses of subsection (c), but only if, and only for so long
1 as, each such additional category or subcategory exceeds
2 3 percent of total Federal outlays for the fiscal year.
3 ‘‘(e) TIMING OF FEDERAL TAX RECEIPT.—A Federal
4 tax receipt shall be made available to each taxpayer as
5 soon as practicable upon the processing of that taxpayer’s
6 income tax return by the Internal Revenue Service.
7 ‘‘(f) USE OF TECHNOLOGIES.—The Internal Revenue
8 Service is encouraged to utilize modern technologies such
9 as electronic mail and the Internet to minimize the cost
10 of sending Federal tax receipts to taxpayers. The Internal
11 Revenue Service shall establish an interactive program on
12 its Internet website to allow taxpayers to generate Federal
13 tax receipts on their own.
14 ‘‘(g) COST.—No charge shall be imposed to cover any
15 cost associated with the production or distribution of the
16 Federal tax receipt.
17 ‘‘(h) REGULATIONS.—The Secretary may prescribe
18 such regulations as may be necessary to carry out this
20 (b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The table of sections
21 for chapter 77 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is
22 amended by adding at the end the following new item:
‘‘Sec. 7529. Federal tax receipt.’’.
23 (c) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by
24 this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after
25 the date of the enactment of this Act.