IBO's Tax Receipt service, which shows taxpayers a breakdown of how the government spends their taxes, is the inspiration for legislation now pending in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Taxpayer Right-To-Know Act, H.R. 2827, would require the IRS to send any requesting taxpayer a breakdown of how much he or she personally contributed, in actual dollars and cents, to different items in the federal budget. IBO's interactive Tax Receipt service-located on our website (here) is the model for the bill.
Rep. Charles Schumer (D-NY) recently introduced H.R. 2827 after learning about IBO's Tax Receipt service. It has bipartisan co-sponsors including Representatives Merrill Cook (R-UT), Bob Schaffer (R-CO), Lee Hamilton (D-IN), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). It is now pending before the House Ways and Means Committee. If enacted, the measure would allow anyone paying income taxes to check a box on their federal return to request a receipt showing how their tax payments were spent for nine major expenditure categories (in addition to a number of more specific spending items), similar to the IBO service. H.R. 2827 seeks to improve the public's understanding of the federal government and to enhance the level of satisfaction with the Internal Revenue Service.
One of the key recommendations of the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service was that the IRS must update its technology and treat taxpayer information as a strategic asset to improve customer service. The Taxpayer Right-To-Know Act could dramatically enhance public understanding of the federal government and hopefully lead to increased compliance with U.S. tax laws.
The lack of an itemized receipt for taxes paid leaves taxpayers in the dark about where and how their money is spent. Thanks to the efforts of Congressman Schumer and his colleagues, H.R. 2827 would serve as a beacon to lead taxpayers out of the dark.