Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Receipt Lottery

Taiwan runs a receipt lottery, the theory being (I guess) that it makes customers demand receipts, and receipts are how the government collects its taxes. In reality no one demands receipts from small stores and restaurants, and no one chooses to go only to places that give you receipts, but you do get receipts at places like 7-11, supermarkets, and any big chain.

Every receipts has an 8-digit number at the top. Numbers are drawn for a 2-month period (ie, November and December) on the 25th of the following month (January, in this case). Then those of us who save our receipts can see if we're a winner.

It's a kind of complicated process: the top prize is 2 million NT if you match all of the digits for the grand prize. There are 3 big prize numbers and 3 smaller prize numbers. If you match the last 3 digits of one of the small prize numbers, you get $200 (NT, a little less than $6 US). The last 4 digits is more, the last 5 digits is even more, etc. Sometimes they give you a couple of extra 3-digit numbers that, if you find it anywhere on the receipt, gets you $200. They did that this time.

The most I've ever won is $800, for 4 x $200 receipts. My old roommate used to not do it because she thought it was gambling but then she decided it wasn't and she won $4000 (over $100 US) the first time she saved receipts!
I didn't win anything for my 11/12 receipts. I didn't have too many because I was out of the country for almost a month of that time. I sure do love the receipt lottery though. I get kind of excited when the 25th of odd-numbered months rolls around. I spend many an idle moment fantasizing about what I'll do with my winnings when I hit the big jackpot. It's a good thing I think actual gambling is morally wrong or I'd be quite the addict.

Note: if you're in Taiwan, you can find the winning numbers here. If you win on a $200 receipt, you can go to 7-11 or Family Mart and spend it all at once on things in the store. With any amount of receipt (including the $200), you can also go to the bank part of the post office to get your winnings in cash.
No matter what you win, you need to fill out the little form on the back with your address and info, although if you bat your eyes at the 7-11 clierk and thye're not busy, they might do it for you. Otherwise you'd need the help of a Taiwanese friend. Also, you'll be taxed on any big winnings (not $200), but the post office will help you deal with all that.

1 comment:

comprock said...

The lottery is a kind of fun when you realize all you have to do is shop, keep the receipts stacked up, and then sort through them every couple of months.

A bit of a bummer though when you go through 30 receipts and only get 200 NT for your efforts.

Now the hard question, do people remember to recycle the receipts afterwards?