Greek Tax Receipt Lottery Gives Away 10 Million Euros

(Photo by IconPress/Christos Doudoumis)

ATHENS – A Greek government scheme to cut tax cheating, a giveaway based on receipts, handed out 1000 euro ($1186) tax-free prizes to 10,000 lucky winners in a drawing Christmas Eve.

It was done in 10 drawings with taxpayers needing to go to the website to find out if they were among the winners, with the awards posted using numbers instead of names, although notifications will also be sent to personal accounts.

Greece requires taxes be filed only online but tax evasion is rampant in the country with most people still preferring to use cash so they can hide transactions, including customers and businesses, particularly professionals such as doctors and others like auto mechanics.

The ongoing capital controls that limit cash withdrawals have seen Greeks drastically increasing use of debit and credit cards, which are easily tracked by tax authorities but tax dodging remains high after an avalanche of increases imposed by the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reneging on promises to cut them.

The cash will be disbursed on Dec. 29, officials said. An earlier December drawing handed out 1000 euros to 1000 taxpayers of the more than 4.55 million in Greece.

Thee lottery was introduced by the Finance Ministry is meant to encourage electronic transactions rather than cash.