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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.