Every year, you do your part to fund America's government by paying your taxes – but have you ever felt compelled to pay a little extra to the government? After all, our national debt has topped $20 trillion, or almost $62,000 per U.S. citizen.
Donations to the government are not as rare as you may think. According to TreasuryDirect, through the first ten months of fiscal 2017, Americans have contributed over $2.5 million to reduce the national debt. Since 2010, we have contributed almost $30 million to national debt reduction.
You probably don't have an extra $62,000 to contribute, but how would you go about making a $50 or $100 contribution against the debt? Submitting donations to the IRS seems like a logical choice – they take your tax money, why wouldn't they take your contributions? Fortunately for us all, if you send the IRS a check for more than the amount you owe, they will simply refund the difference. You really wouldn't want the IRS to assume that overpayments should be considered as donations.
Donations to most government agencies, including the IRS, are not allowed. But don’t use this fact to avoid paying your taxes! The point is to keep control of government agencies within the realm of Congress. Otherwise, private entities could flood agencies with funding and influence them in the direction the entities prefer – which may not coincide with the will of the people or the best choice for our country. Pay.gov has a partial contact list of agencies and foundations where contributions are allowed, such as the State Department and the National Archives and Records Administration.
The government has made it easy for you to send them donations through Pay.gov and the Gifts to Reduce the Public Debt page. You can make payments on the site using credit or debit cards, automated bank transfers, PayPal, or even your Amazon account! Contributions are added to a special account that goes toward redeeming outstanding government bonds, bills, and notes.
If you itemize your deductions, you can even claim your contribution to debt reduction as a deduction on your taxes. Given that you wanted to reduce the debt with your contribution, it seems odd to ask for some of it back through a tax deduction – but who are we to argue?
The sad truth is if you sent in a $1000 check to do your part to help combat our national debt, and you managed to convince all of your fellow Americans – men, women, and children –to do the same, we’d all have to do that annually for another 61 years to wipe out the debt. And that assumes no interest on the debt as we pay it off, and politicians not running up more debt! Not gonna happen….
On second thought, maybe you should use that $1000 to pay down your own debt – and if you don't have any debt, place it in your retirement fund instead. You already give your fair share to the government. Take care of yourself first.
Let the free Retirement Planner by MoneyTips help you calculate when you can retire without jeopardizing your lifestyle.