NNeeww lloottt­teer­ryy ttoo ccllaammpp ddoowwnn oonn VVAATT eev­vaas­si­ioonn

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The gov­ern­ment plans to set up a lot­tery that will en­cour­age peo­ple to pay 23% VAT on goods and ser­vices, by let­ting them en­ter only if they can pro­vide a valid re­ceipt of value added tax pay­ment.

The ‘VAT Lot­tery’ was among a list of ideas sent to the Troika of in­ter­na­tional lenders that is over­see­ing eco­nomic adjustment and re­forms, as a way to clamp down on tax eva­sion boost state cof­fers.

The doc­u­ment is said to be sim­i­lar to schemes that have proved suc­cess­ful in Por­tu­gal, Malta and Slo­vakia.

The daily Kathimerini said peo­ple would only be al­lowed to en­ter the lot­tery once they sent a text mes­sage con­tain­ing a unique code on their VAT re­ceipt.

The plan es­ti­mates rev­enue from the lot­tery, com­bined with stricter con­trol of in­voices, will raise more than 500 mln euros a year, call­ing it a “cru­cial weapon” in tack­ling fraud and en­cour­ag­ing bet­ter com­pli­ance.

En­demic tax eva­sion, which one gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said this week cost 15 bln euros an­nu­ally, was widely blamed for help­ing to trig­ger the coun­try’s debt cri­sis, news re­ports said.

The cri­sis led to harsh aus­ter­ity mea­sures, spend­ing cuts and job losses. But Greeks re­main some of the keen­est gam­blers in Europe and the coun­try’s re­cently pri­va­tised gaming mo­nop­oly OPAP, is one of the big­gest firms of its kind on the con­ti­nent based on rev­enues.

Por­tu­gal launched the tele­vised “Lucky In­voice” car draws in April, giv­ing away an Audi A4 sedan ev­ery week. Cus­tomers au­to­mat­i­cally qual­ify for a draw ticket for each 10 euros they spend when they ask for a re­ceipt with their tax­payer num­ber on it.

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