It is said that death and taxes are the only sure things in life. This week, Denver launched a new effort to provide some clarity on at least one of those universal truths.

The city’s Department of Finance rolled out a new Taxpayer Receipt tool Monday on its website, informing residents how their sales and property tax dollars and cents are used.

In an effort to serve as a good steward of taxpayer money, the city will provide residents with transparency on city finances through the new tool, Chief Financial Officer Brendan Hanlon said in a statement.

“The new taxpayer receipt is an additional tool to make the city’s budget more transparent and to educate residents on how and where their money is spent,” Hanlon said. “We are all accustomed to getting a receipt when we spend money on just about everything else, so why not get a receipt when you pay your city taxes?”

Available in English and Spanish, the tool will break down the end uses of a resident’s estimated local sales and property tax contributions to Denver city government. Taxpayers will need to enter information like income, age, homeownership status and estimate what proportion of household income they spend in the city to see an itemized receipt of what Denver services their dollars support, including affordable housing, capital projects and public safety, among others. A resident’s  portion of tax dollars that support other taxing bodies will not appear on the city’s receipt.

The company behind the tool, Denver-based Engaged Public, is urging cities across the country to implement the receipt software, partner Brenda Morrison said.

Dozens of municipalities are already utilizing the company’s software including San Antonio, Milwaukee, Virgina Beach, Virgina and, in the Denver metro area, Wheat Ridge and Brighton.

It’s a tool for the taxpayers to educate themselves on how their local government is allocating and investing their money, Morrison said.

“Residents need to be engaged in their government and informed on how decisions are made,” Morrison said of the tool. “This is a way to communicate with your elected officials in an educated way on how taxpaying dollars are used.”

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