Merryn's Blog

The best way to collect taxes? Start a lottery

Slovakia’s new monthly lottery has increased its take of sales tax by over half a billion euros.

I've written a few times about the rising size of the black economy in the UK.We aren't the only place struggling with it. But, while we deal with the problem with moralistic soul searching combined with a confused mix of amnesties and threats, some other countries are taking a rather more pragmatic approach.

In Slovakia, the government has come up with a new lottery concept. You collect your receipts from all your transactions and register them on a government website. Those registered are then entered into a monthly lottery for prizes including €10,000 and a new car.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

This, says the New York Times, encourages people to demand receipts and then creates a paper trail for transactions and forces "restaurants and shops to pay the sales taxes they owe."

It works. So far 450,000 people have taken part, some 60 million receipts have been registered, and 7,000 complaints about merchants not issuing receipts have been made (up from 300 in the six months before the lottery was introduced).

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

And tax revenues? It is impossible to tell how much of it is down to the lottery, but sale tax revenues rose by €512m in 2013.

It's hard to tell if it would it work in the UK. But given that the lottery in Slovakia cost a mere €276,000 to start up I can't see how we could lose by setting one up here and allowing anyone who can produce a proper traceable receipt from a builder, a plumber or perhaps a rural riding school to enter.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/519223/how-can-we-raise-more-money-in-tax
Economy

What are the best ways of raising more money in tax?

Given that whoever wins next week's election will be going on a massive spending spree, we're going to need to raise at least some of that money throu…
5 Dec 2019
Visit/518715/what-are-the-biggest-mistakes-investors-make-when-it-comes-to-tax
Investment strategy

What are the biggest mistakes investors make when it comes to tax?

The tax implications of an investment are something we rarely consider until after the event. That could prove to be an expensive mistake, says Domini…
27 Nov 2019
Visit/516603/how-tax-has-shaped-the-course-of-human-history
Economy

How tax has shaped the course of human history

Taxation is as old as civilisation itself. But how much is too much? Dominic Frisby looks at how taxation, war and society have evolved together over …
16 Oct 2019
Visit/personal-finance/600675/pension-contributions-what-you-need-to-declare-on-your-tax-return
Personal finance

Pension contributions: what you need to declare on your tax return

Make sure you don't forget to declare your pension contributions in your tax return
28 Jan 2020

Most Popular

Visit/economy/inflation/600799/federal-reserve-inflation-money-printing
Inflation

Here’s why the Federal Reserve might print more money before 2020 is out

The Federal Reserve wants to allow US inflation to run “hot” for a while. But that’s just an excuse to keep interest rates low – and possibly print mo…
10 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/investment-strategy/600804/the-secret-to-avoiding-being-panicked-out-of-your-portfolio
Investment strategy

The secret to avoiding being panicked out of your portfolio

With the coronavirus continuing to occupy headlines, investors still aren’t sure how to react. But the one thing you mustn’t do is panic. Tim Price ex…
11 Feb 2020
Visit/economy/600796/money-minute-monday-10-february-lacklustre-growth-in-the-uk-and-europe
Economy

Money Minute Monday 10 February: lacklustre growth in the UK and Europe

Today's Money Minute looks ahead to the week's GDP growth estimates for the UK and the eurozone, plus inflation figures for the USA.
10 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/stockmarkets/european-stockmarkets/600725/is-2020-the-year-for-european-small-cap
Sponsored

Is 2020 the year for European small-cap stocks?

SPONSORED CONTENT - Ollie Beckett, manager of the TR European Growth Trust, on why he believes European small-cap stocks are performing well.
28 Jan 2019