Day 3 of 1040 in 365
So we left you yesterday hanging in suspense about what that little box you see to the left is all about. The instructions provided by the IRS state the following
“This fund helps pay for Presidential election campaigns. The fund reduces candidates’ dependence on large contributions from individuals and groups and places candidates on an equal financial footing in the general elections.”
Checking this box is not going to increase or reduce your tax. It simply takes $3 from your total tax and deposits it into the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. Congress setup this fund in 1971 as an alternative way for Presidential elections to be funded. This chart shows how much the fund has collected each year and how much has been paid out to candidates. At the bottom of the chart it’s interesting to note that early on after it’s implementation the number of returns that included a a checked box was in the mid 20% range. That has declined dramatically over the past 20 years to where now the average number of returns containing a checked box is around 6%.
So if your feeling extra patriotic the next time you file your tax return check the box. It’s not going to take any money out of your pocket that hasn’t already been taken. If you’re still curious and want to review some additional information related to The $3 Tax Checkoff, check out the FEC’s quick answers here.