Though U.S. taxpayers received an extra month to file and pay their federal income taxes in 2021, some are still smarting from having to write a check to the IRS. For many, it can be tough to make the connection between those hard-earned dollars going out the window and the roads, services, and even technological advances that are made possible through taxpayer dollars.
Taxpayer Appreciation Day was designed to bridge this gap. Keep reading to learn more about this holiday and learn more about some of the advances made possible using taxpayer dollars.
What is Taxpayer Appreciation Day?
Observed on the first Saturday of every August, Taxpayer Appreciation Day was first proposed by presidential candidate Ralph Nader in 1999. This holiday is intended to recognize and highlight the immeasurable contributions taxpayers have made to the country's infrastructure and innovations. From interstate highways to cutting-edge pharmaceutical breakthroughs all the way through space exploration, U.S. taxpayers have helped make it possible.
Taxpayer Appreciation Day Highlights
Some of the developments that would not be possible without taxpayer funds—and taxpayer-funded government organizations—include:,
- Lithium-ion batteries, developed by the Department of Energy;
- GPS systems, developed by the Department of Defense;
- Doppler radar, developed by the National Science Foundation;
- The flu shot, developed by the National Institute of Health;
- LED lights, developed in partnership with the Air Force;
- Closed captioning, developed by the National Bureau of Standards/NIST;
- Infant formula, developed by NASA;
- Self-driving cars, developed in partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Some of these developments are nearly an act of serendipity. For example, NASA invented infant formula while attempting to formulate a high-calorie, high-nutrition beverage that could be transported and mixed in space.
Finally, those reading this from an online connection can thank the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), which helped create Arpanet—the internet's precedessor.
Local Taxpayer Appreciation Days
In addition to August's Taxpayer Appreciation Day for federal taxpayers, some states and municipalities celebrate their own Taxpayer Appreciation Day to recognize those who pay their taxes on time. In fact, some revenue departments offer discounts to taxpayers who pay their taxes early, by a certain date.
No matter how you opt to celebrate Taxpayer Appreciation Day this year, give yourself a pat on the back for another tax season in the books!