TIL that every receipt at every store in Taiwan is a ticket for a government lottery with top prizes worth over 300,000 USD. It was introduced in 1951 to combat sales tax dodging by businesses.

TIL that every receipt at every store in Taiwan is a ticket for a government lottery with top prizes worth over 300,000 USD. It was introduced in 1951 to combat sales tax dodging by businesses.
TIL that every receipt at every store in Taiwan is a ticket for a government lottery with top pri...

Taiwanese guy here! I've won money from this before! Only the lowest prize though, which is 200NTD, or approximately six US dollars.

As with pretty much any lottery, the odds of winning are very low, so there's no real point in trying to split up your purchases to get multiple receipts. A, say, 0.00002% chance of winning the top prize isn't that much different from a 0.00001% chance.

So you're telling me there's a chance

Actually we the donate the receipts to charities who check through all the numbers and get the winnings

This is pretty genius for the government. It's not that much money for the government to fork over compared to their losses otherwise, and it would help change some lives for the better.

This guy knows what's going on.

Um, you could collect your own receipts and look in the newspaper for the results. That would take a lot of time, and the chances of winning would be low. But all the people I know put the receipts into the little charity donation bins.

It also tricks people into saving their receipts and going over their purchases at the end of the month. Some people pay for apps specifically for that.

To add to this TIL:

Taiwan is now promoting the use of electronic receipts, and citizens can apply (application consists of just going to the official website and entering a cellphone number and personal details) for a bar-code that is bound to their cellphone number, and let the shops scan this bar-code to "store" electronic receipts to the account. When the winning serial numbers are drawn, the Receiver of Revenue will automatically process the serial numbers in everyone's electronic receipt account and transfer the prizes into each winner's designated bank account.

People who would like to donate receipts to charity may simply print out the charity organization's bar-code and use that while making purchases.

Each month, the receiver of revenue will email a .csv list of all the stored receipts and their details as entered by the shops. For example each of my receipts at a 7-11 store will actually list every single item I purchased and their individual prices.

Electronic payment systems are also incorporated, with the unified receipt system automatically receiving the bar-code from the electronic payment carrier, and hence automatically storing the receipt into your account.

But I am lazy. When I get coffee or snacks at 711 you get a receipt then you pop it into the charity bin. I know that someone needy will use the money and I am happy about that

Yep, I still remember helping my parents looking through old receipts trying to match up the numbers when I was a kid.

My parents still has the habit of keeping way too many random receipts in a drawer even after 20 years in the US. Old habits die hard.

With the lottery in place, the customers would proactively ask for a receipt if the business doesn't give them one. This way the businesses can't do sales 'under the table'.

So all the money goes to charity?

Yeah, I have 8,300 different orders. For the first one, a piece of penny bubblegum. For the second order, a piece of penny bubblegum. . .

Make a spreadsheet and add the receipt number each time you purchase something, then you can ctrl+f and find the winning results. Or is that not how it works?

I'd like 500 on this guy

The unstated point of clarity here is that the businesses were still charging sales tax, they were just keeping it for themselves rather than properly logging the sale and reporting it to the government. It's not the customers who are skipping out on sales tax, so this incentivizes them to demand proper logging of their purchases, so they get a ticket.

Puerto Rico has this too! It was introduced a couple of years ago, however, for some reason only certain people and towns are winning rather than at random. I think it might be a bit corrupt

my parents do that and neither of them are even taiwanese

Carrot > Stick.

The one issue I see is that paper strips for reciepts are treated with a light-sensitive chemical which contains BPA.

That's more of an argument for getting rid of BPA in receipts than anything else though.

There actually are people who do that, and everyone hates them, especially if they try this during the morning rush...

I won 400nt (~12usd) a few months ago, it's such a sweet little perk about having a bunch of receipts

And that's​ how corruption works

It combats the tax dodging on the part of the business. If they give out the receipt they have to pay the taxes, as opposed to under reporting sales and pocketing the tax money. Customers have an incentive to make sure they have a receipt when they make purchases.

Saving the receipts has something to do with balancing a check book.

I'd like 1 on 500 guys

Honesty is good :-) I'm lazy too, and forgetful, so I'd probably make the spreadsheet and remember to do it like 1 out of 10 times.

How does this make it so people can't dodge sales tax?

Yeah that's the only thing I took away from that. Shut up with all those numbers nerd! I have money to win.

Romania has introduced that too, a year or two ago.

This is awesome! Great way to see a breakdown of expenses as well.

You just literally doubled your chances.

Also, warranty.

The makers of thermal paper and printers are doing just fine though.

Correlates with cancer, there is no real proof yet. Also, you don't usually eat your receipts.

Edit: typo

it's linked to cancer in low-income people

Would you have bothered to google the currency conversion if it were Taiwan dollars written in the title?

I assume op wrote usd for a wider base of people to get straight away.

Also a great way to bind everyone's phone number to a bank account without having to request that info from banks, and analyze everyone's purchases too.

Done manually, all this labor would require at least several people.

Big Printer is at it again

Exactly. If the receipt has been issued with a lottery code, then the government has logged the sale. Shredding it after won't change anything...

American living in Taiwan here: I always collect my receipts and usually I win 200 NT dollars every two months. Most recently I won 1000 NT dollars by matching 4 numbers. It's very little work for the chance at getting free money! And I don't think you speak for all Taiwanese people because I have Taiwanese friends that collect receipts and check them. Maybe you're just generalizing for people in Taipei?

Never tell me the odds!

NTD$400 is enough for either one of the following:

about 25-30 minute taxi ride one IMAX show one small (9 inch) pizza plus three fried chicken drumsticks plus two cups of corn soup plus 1.25 liter Pepsi McDonalds 12 nuggets + 2 large fries + 3 pieces of fried chicken + 4 barbeque chicken wings + NTD$32 change that is more than enough for a 600ml Coca Cola at the convenience store Kingston HyperX 32GB USB 3.0 thumb drive that's on sale four chicken leg lunch box (enough portions for the average construction worker) from regular lunch box shops, i.e. four meals plus some change

Just to give some idea of how much it's actually worth.

My wife and I won the equivalent of $50 CDN. I really like that they do this in Taiwan.

You mean dong right

So that's what Eduardo's shares were diluted down to

....by hanging a carrot in front of the buyers.

That's China not Taiwan. Just like the UK is not the USA. You can't run out of them in Taiwan, that excuse wouldn't fly. You're out of receipts, then you grab more. They're extremely available.

Also I've lived here for 7 years. That's never been an excuse.

Because it costs the customer nothing to get a receipt. The receipt has the lottery numbers on it when it's printed, so if you don't bother making sure you get a receipt you're screwing yourself out of a potential lottery ticket. I'm just saying that most people don't bother trying to game the system by splitting up their purchases for multiple receipts, because even with extra "tickets" your odds of winning are still quite low.

I do know some people who don't bother keeping their receipts though.

Why didnt somebody create an app that let you scan your receipts and check if you've won something yet?

My gf (Taiwanese) and I (American) kept all our receipts for the two years I lived there.

After the first two times we could check, I sorted out and everything and checked all the receipts to see if we had won. She didn't help, so I asked her if she could just keep her receipts in a nice organized box or something to make it easier.

She didn't, so after that I just threw em all away. Screw it lol, it wasn't worth the hassle!!

It's like getting a surprise discount. And a 12 usd discount is good enough.

Been to Taiwan several times and would often ask my Taiwan friends if they wanted my receipts before I left to go back home. They all said no but suggested I drop them all in the charity box before I left.

As a side note related to the post. There is an easy way to know if you can "haggle" prices in the local shops. If you see a stamp next to the price it is official and locked however if there is no stamp it is likely set by the shop owner and inflated meaning you can talk them down. That is unless you're a western'er and can't understand Chinese. In those situations you get the tourist price which can sometimes be a 10% markup.

The difference is two times, sounds different to me.

Maybe you need to get more tickets!

I mean, tigers don't usually kill people in the US, but I bet you would want the cops on it if you heard of one walking around in your city.

from what I remember reading, it's water soluble and can diffuse through your skin, meaning low-income people who work with the heat-ink receipt paper on a daily basis are the ones most at risk.

Why would they shred them?

Is that still going on? I haven't heard anything about it after the first two draws.

On the plus side, after the government introduced this, literally every corner shop I went to gave me a receipt and many small shops even installed POSs to accept credit card payments. So even if the lottery was discontinued, the effects are very much visible.

And perhaps also to make sure your partner isn't buying any condoms.

Only the lowest prize though, which is 200NTD, or approximately six US dollars.

I heard for many times that the top prize is a scam and all those "recipients" were actors. Taiwanese have their fair share of conspiracy theories.


What's that?

The point to combat sales tax dodging businesses, not to test the limit of human sadism.

China does it too, but it's a scratch off ticket instead of a lotto. It combats tax evasion by the businesses because they have to buy the receipt papers from the tax office so the government knows how many sales should be in the accounting books.

I have been living in Taiwan for the past two years and you can scan those receipts with QR barcodes to save it in your phone. Your phone will check the lottery winning for you when numbers are announced.

Alternatively, you can store receipts electronically in your payment cards (like Oyster card in London) and they will email you once numbers are announced.

While I'm not doubting your experience, just want people to know I've been living in Taiwan for over 7 years and never had to or heard of people haggling for prices. Maybe at some stand in a nightmarket or out of the way town, but in general there is no haggling here and the Taiwanese are very honest with their business dealings no matter who you are.

It's more the result of poor tax collecting. I live in China and in Shenzhen they have a similar system. On the other hand a city where I live tax dodging is pretty common. Often establishments "run out of official receipt's". Now this could be true, you need to apply in advance for a certain number but it's extremely common to happen. But then tax evasion happens here on so many levels that I tend to think local establishments is the least of the Chinese governments' worries.