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A lottery to beat all lotteries

Ryan Hahn's picture

The Armenians have gotten creative. It's no secret that many post-communist countries suffer from high rates of tax evasion. How can a government promote tax compliance without being too heavy-handed with small businesses? The answer: print lottery numbers for a state-sponsored lottery on the back of store receipts. That way consumers demand receipts and merchants are obliged to print them (conveniently leaving a paper trail for the tax office). From Notes from Hairenik:

On the back of each check is an eight-digit number which ends with an Armenian letter. Apparently at some time in the near future these numbers will be called, like in a lottery, and if the number called matches the one on your receipt you can win money–up to $16,000 if you're lucky enough… I am not ashamed to admit that I am indeed saving all the receipts that I receive, in case I happen to win enough cash to put down towards the payment of an apartment. You never know...What's the excuse of thousands of citizens who make money but refuse to pay [taxes]?

(Hat tip: Global Voices Online)

Comments

Great idea. Although the prize has to be higher than the value of the receipt's tax portion...

Submitted by Amanda Dickins on
The Chinese have a similar scheme: many upmarket joints give out receipts in the form of vouchers (eg instead of a single receipt for 750, you'll get pieces of paper in the form of 500, 2*100 and 50). These are lottery tickets of some variety -- I think they were instant win scratchcards. I'm not sure exactly how the system works, but (given the reluctance of some to hand them over) I would guess that the business has had to purchase these vouchers from the government, which might be one way to ensure your tax take.

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