The government has announced a jackpot prize to encourage people to use plastic money for their transactions, in an attempt to curb tax evasion by both consumers and businessmen.
From the end of October, taxpayers will automatically qualify to enter a raffle on the basis of the number of their electronic financial transactions, the finance ministry said. The lucky winner could win a cash – and tax-exempt – prize of 1,000 euros, it said.
With 1,000 winners each month, this move is expected to cost the Greek state one million euros per month in order to clamp down on tax evasion, which is said to cost Greece billions each year.
Greece first proposed the VAT lottery system to the country’s European Union and the IMF lenders in 2014, hoping it would help prevent budget shortfalls.
Making it operational is now a term in its current bailout; the third since the crisis broke out in 2009, and is aimed at boosting the use of electronic payments in a country that has been dominated by cash.
Customers can often negotiate discounts on goods and services in Greece by agreeing to take them without a receipt – allowing shoppers, shops, and workers from plumbers to builders to avoid the country’s 24% VAT rate.