Treasury Department (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

If you just cut a check to Uncle Sam or calculated your tax rate for the year, you may be wondering where do all those hard-earned dollars go?

Unfortunately, you can’t earmark your tax dollars to departments or programs you support. Your taxes go into the bigger pool contributed by everyone else and are allocated based on need and policy direction.

Even so, it’s smart to understand how the government uses your tax dollars, so you can be an engaged and informed citizen. It may also help you as you evaluate the 2020 presidential candidates and the policies they propose.

Let’s take a look under the hood of the federal government.

For 2018, the federal government received $3.33