The Australian government has received online praise for its individualized tax receipts, which show taxpayers exactly “where [their] tax money was spent.”
A photo of one such receipt was posted in Reddit’s “Damn That’s Interesting” forum on Thursday by u/chadthor123, who appears to have taken the photo from u/heapsgoods, the receipt’s owner. It has garnered over 46,000 upvotes and more than 1,700 comments, many of whom are calling the receipt “f**king brilliant.”
According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), most Australians receive tax receipts with their notice of assessment—the statement issued when a tax return finishes processing—after their annual tax return is processed. A smaller portion of the population either receives their receipts separately or electronically via a myGov account.
“The tax receipt contains a table that shows how your taxes are assigned to key categories of government expenditure,” ATO explained. “The tax receipt also includes information on the level of Australian Government gross debt for the current and previous years. This is to increase transparency on how the government spends taxpayers’ money.”
u/heapsgoods’s resurfaced receipt shows that nearly $850 of their tax dollars were spent on welfare assistance in 2018. Welfare, says ATO, provides assistance and services “to the aged” as well as assistance to people with disabilities, families with children and the unemployed.
“It also includes assistance provided to Indigenous Australians which has not been classified elsewhere,” ATO said.
In 2018, the Australian government also spent $420 of u/heapsgoods’s tax dollars on health expenses, $203 on defense and $183 on education expenses. Other categories shown on the receipt include housing, public safety and immigration, among several others.
In total, u/heapsgoods spent nearly $2,200 in taxes in 2018.
Commenters praised the Australian government for its “transparency” and many expressed wanting tax receipts from their respective governments.
“That’s f**king brilliant. If we had that in Ireland I’m sure there would be riots,” u/fr-fluffybottom said.
“Really need this in India,” u/_sc0ut__ wrote.
“This should be done everywhere, assuming that’s actually where it’s going lol. I’d feel better at least,” u/ViolenceUnimagined33 commented.
“Would you look at that, transparency with your tax dollars,” u/Jasper_Beardly added.
Newsweek has reached out to u/heapsgoods for comment.
In 2011, The White House launched a “Federal Taxpayer Receipt” tool so American taxpayers, like those in Australia, could see how their individual tax dollars were being spent, TurboTax previously reported. However, the tool now appears to be defunct. Instead, Americans can access USASpending.gov to see how much revenue the federal government collects each year, as well as where they collect that money from and what they spend it on.
In 2021, for example, the government collected $4.05 trillion in revenue, the majority of which came from individual, corporate and social insurance taxes. That same year, the government spent $6.82 trillion across a variety of categories, including social security, health and national defense.
Other Viral Moments
A Redditor posting in “Interesting as F**k” went viral in July for sharing a photo of the North Korean currency he smuggled out of the country in his sock. Also in July, a woman posting in Reddit’s “Mildly Interesting” forum received 23,000 upvotes for her photo of “an egg within an egg.”
And a video of the moment a mother elephant asked zookeepers to help wake her sleeping calf went viral on Reddit with over 51,000 upvotes.