Taiwan Receipt Lottery to Celebrate 60th Anniversary
Central News Agency
2010-06-11 03:58 PM
You just bought a drink at a convenience store and got a receipt.

You look at the receipt and wonder if you should stick it in your wallet or throw it in the trash. Maybe there's a reason to think again.

Twenty-nine people won the NT$2 million (US$61,735) grand prize in Taiwan's most recent receipt lottery draw of uniform invoice numbers that covered March and April.

One winner spent as little as NT$10 on a drink at a convenience store and another spent NT$1,460 at a department store, while another paid NT$1,040 for cable TV fees, according to the lottery's winning list.

To mark the 60th anniversary of the implementation of Taiwan's uniform invoice this year, a road-run event took place in June 6 in Kaohsiung, part of a series of events all over Taiwan to celebrate the anniversary. More than 10,000 people took part in the "Health, Hope and Run Forward" run, and more than 20,000 receipts were collected and donated to Kaohsiung's Liouguei elementary school track team.

Additional runs will take place in Taichung City Aug. 1 and in Taipei City Oct. 17.

First introduced in 1950, the receipts also serve as lottery tickets, with prizes awarded every two months ranging from NT$200 to NT$2 million.

The 60th anniversary of the issuing of uniform invoices is meaningful because without the invoices, value-added business tax could not have been implemented, according to Deputy Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford.

Since its implementation, the lottery has helped the government prevent tax evasion and generate more revenue by giving the public the incentive to demand receipts for their purchases.

A year after the enactment of the receipt lottery, Taiwan's business revenue increased by 75 percent, according to the Ministry of Finance.

By 1988, as much as 3 percent of the country's total business tax revenue was being allocated for the receipt lottery, spurring a national craze over the collection of the receipts that could bring fortune.

The lottery has been promoted by the government on variety shows and has even had a promotional song that touts the benefits of demanding a receipt.

Business owners that have outstanding records of giving uniform invoices are rewarded with government medals and certificates, and are given privileges when passing through customs.

In addition to its role as a print record of commercial transactions and a lottery ticket, the invoice has another role -- as an important source of income for local charity groups.

Genesis Social Welfare Foundation, one of the first charity groups to collect unwanted uniform invoices, received over 99 million receipt donations in 2009, worth a total of over NT$92 million, and today, uniform invoice donation boxes can be seen in shops and businesses around Taiwan.

The Ministry of Finance said in late May that it will significantly increase the chances of winning the lottery in 2011 in the wake of demands from the public to raise the probability of hitting the jackpot.

An NT$1.8 billion increase in lottery prizes can be expected, according to Ministry of Finance officials.

The government is also pushing for E-uniform invoices that will allow receipts to be saved electronically to a government service platform that stores and matches winning numbers automatically.

It has been estimated that the implementation of E-uniform invoices will save the printing of 8 billion receipts each year, along with reduced management and mailing costs.

By Christie Chen CNA Staff Writer

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