How Much of Our Taxes Go to the Military? – Facts

Blog Written by JOHN COTTON / Fact-checked by LOGAN MILLER

how much does each taxpayer

The United States military is funded by taxes allocated by the federal government. This implies that each year, about 20% of the money we pay in taxes is used to fund the military’s operations, which include infrastructure, staff, and equipment.

This has led many to the question: “how much of our taxes go to the military?”. In the fiscal year 2022, the budget was $722 billion, and $737 billion for the Department of Defense in the fiscal year 2023. They are set by the Biden administration.

In this article, we’ll analyze the amount of tax dollars spent on the military and how it affects the average taxpayer. Keep on reading the article below.

The Defense Budget Allocated


In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the amount of taxpayer money that goes into the US military. In fact, the federal budget allocates and spends around 20 percent of taxes go to military spending.

It is reported that in 2021, there was a higher percentage of the US budget spent on military compared to 2020 spending.

As such, it is important to know how much money goes to the military each year. As taxpayers, we all want to know how our hard-earned money is being spent.

The area where government spending often comes under question is the military budget. The percentage of US taxes that go to military spending varies from year to year.

The Department of Defense (DoD) receives the largest portion of the military budget. In the fiscal year 2023, the requested budget for DoD was $773.0 billion tax money goes to the military.

With over $700 billion of the amount of tax dollars spent on military operations, the administration made sure to be transparent to where they will spend it.

Here’s a pie chart representing military budget allocation in 2022 from the country’s tax:


The following chart provides additional statistics on DoD contracting expenses in 2022:


The Allocation Process

But, it generally accounts for a significant part of the federal budget. Here’s the process of how the military budget is allocated:

  1. The federal government has a budgeting system in which Congress disburses money to numerous government departments, including the military.
  2. The government’s executive proposes a budget for military spending based on military operations, national security needs, and the well-being of military members.
  3. DoD and other military agencies will undergo a PPBE (Planning, Programming, Budget, and Execution) cycle to develop an appropriate budget for the military. This process helps in deciding the necessary programs to allocate the budget.
  4. The President of the United States plays an important part in military budgeting. They have the power to change, approve, decline, and submit the proposed budget to Congress yearly.
  5. The Department of Defense reports yearly on its spending and performance to the government and the public.

How Has It Changed Over Time/ in Years to Come?


For an average taxpayer, you see the impact of funding the military is significant. In fact, it can affect other areas of government spending.

For instance, if a significant amount of the federal budget is designated for military activities. This could result in less money being allocated for other priorities including welfare programs, healthcare, and education.

In reality, the percentage of the US budget spent on military acitivities is not the same as the amount that is being supported for public works.

This table is the amount of military spending from 2017 to 2021 is shown in the official documents from federal budget:

Year Total spending (trillion)
2017 $818.9
2018 $890.8
2019 $904.3
2020 $935.8
2021 $933.8

Pro’s and Con’s of Military Spending


  • It is used to support important military activities such as financial stability, defense systems, education, job opportunities, and other humanitarian aid.
  • It allocates a certain amount for preparations for emergencies and miscellaneous expenses. Including responses to natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
  • It helps to maintain world peace and harmony.
  • It creates more job opportunities and economic growth. People can work under military equipment productions, services, and offices.


  • It takes a lot of the government’s budget which in fact, it can be spent on other social needs, such as health care, infrastructure, and education. The taxpayers could get quite unsatisfied if the budget is not managed efficiently.
  • If the budget is abused, it can be used to fund unnecessary wars, conflicts, and corruption in the country. It can be easily manipulated by the wrong people, especially the wrong leaders.
  • It may increase its overall debt of the country to pay for military operations, which would be bad for the economy.
  • It can be used by big corporations and use military funds for private corporate gains.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why is the money goes into the U.S. military so high?

The U.S. military budget is known to be one of the largest in the world. Its budget includes funds for veterans’ welfare, military life, national security, public safety, and defense.

How much does each taxpayer contribute to the military budget?

In the 2020 budget report from the Office of Management & Budget, the government spent 11 percent of federal expenditure to fund the national defense. And the percentage of taxes go to military is 20%.

For tax estimates, you can check the available online tax calculators on the internet.

Why is the military funded by taxes?

The military is funded by taxes because the amount of tax dollars spent is a guaranteed protection of the country and its people.


We have already tackled how much of our taxes go to the military. We also learned how they are allocated by the federal government and their effects on taxpayers.

As taxpayers, it is valid to ask where our money is going and if the funding the military gets is being spent for the right reasons. The impacts of military spending on the nation’s economy and security have positive and negative effects.

By understanding our tax contributions, we can make more informed decisions about how our tax dollars are being used.

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