Poland gambles on ‘receipt lottery’

Warsaw, October 1

An ordinary sales receipt could be a ticket to ride in a brand new car in Poland, where authorities launched a ‘receipt lottery’ today in a bid to curb sales tax evasion.

“Anyone who registers a minimum 10 zloty (2.35 euros, $2.63) purchase will be eligible to win valuable prizes including cars, tablets and laptops,” the finance ministry said, wooing consumers to log onto the lottery website.

Poland’s VAT rate is 23 per cent, with economists estimating losses from unpaid sales tax at 40 billion zloty per year.

Deputy Finance Minister Izabela Leszczyna declined to reveal how much added revenue the year-long scheme was expected to raise. It will cost taxpayers seven million zloty, or around 0.01 per cent of annual sales tax revenue.

“Above all, we want to educate Polish consumers about their important role in fostering honest economic activity,” Leszczyna said.

Anyone over 18 can try their luck by registering receipts online. One car a month plus laptops are up for grabs with the first draw slated for November 16.

Honest vendors whose VAT receipts are drawn will be rewarded with iPad Air 2 tablets.

The lottery comes as Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz’s centrist Civic Platform (PO) is struggling in the polls ahead of an October 25 general election.

The economy is expected to expand by up to 3.5 per cent this year.