Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where Did My Tax Dollars Go? - An Interactive Visualization

Last Saturday I spent about six hours sorting through receipts and 1099 forms as I put together my 1040 for the IRS. As I watched Turbo Tax count up how much I was going to have to shell out on Monday, I couldn't help but grumble and wonder just how my money will be spent. The answer to my question about how US tax revenue is spent can be found in the entries to the latest Data Viz Challenge sponsored in part by Google and the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. The challenge was to create visualizations about tax revenue expenditures. The winner of the challenge is Where Did My Tax Dollars Go?

At Where Did My Tax Dollars Go? you can enter your gross income for the year and your filing status to see a break down of where your dollars went. The break down includes an interactive pie chart that you can click on to find a further break down of each category on the chart. For example if you click on the National Defense section of the pie chart you will see how many of your dollars went to the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Applications for Education
Where Did My Tax Dollars Go? is a great way to show students the many categories of expenditures that the federal budget has. If you have students that are working part time jobs, this could be a real eye-opener to see where the deductions from their paychecks are going.