Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Taiwan is mostly cash and they use a receipt lottery to encourage people to buy from vendors who give receipts. Each receipt has a number and there's a lottery at the end of the month with cash prizes.

Also, people here know they can report a business for not giving out receipts. They might get a share of recovered taxes for that.

I don't know all the pros and cons of that setup but it seems there are ways to maintain a cash based system and still collect taxes.

Taiwanese confirmed here. Basically we use a lot of cash in our daily lives. The "hidden economy" still exists in some places, like some outdoor vendors or night markets.

I was familiar with the lotteries (didn't participate -- I just put my receipts in the charity buckets or the trash) but had NO IDEA this was why. I just assumed it was because the culture is just much more amenable to gambling (which I think is also true, but might not be the reason it's tied to receipts).

If this is truly the reason for the lotteries, is the government / tax agency giving out the prizes? I never bothered to look closely but it always seemed something run by those businesses.

> If this is truly the reason for the lotteries, is the government / tax agency giving out the prizes?

Yes of course. Every country has trouble collecting taxes. In Taiwan they memorialize the day when the police were too heavy handed with a woman selling untaxed cigarettes. A citizen died in the skirmish.

This day is 2/28 and largely remembered as the beginning of a 40 year period of martial law in Taiwan. I recommend visiting the 228 museum in Taipei's peace park. Even though the current government, KMT, revised the history in this museum to downplay the fact that 20,000 people went missing in Taiwan during this period, the museum still tells a great story. It's great because the story wouldn't exist at all in a place without free speech, such as China.

China has something similar as well, called the Fapiao: http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2013/08/13/understanding-...

Though as I understand it, it requires a dot matrix printer to populate these receipts (or writing them by hand).

Hmm I don't remember receiving many receipts in China. I spent 3 months there over two occasions a couple years ago. Taiwan's implementation appears more successful to me. Fapiao means receipt, so that makes sense. There is some required hardware or software but doesn't seem any more cumbersome than a credit card machine and printer. Nearly every shop has them in TW.

Edit: reading further I see China is rolling out their lottery in more areas the last few years

That's because you have to actively ask for it. If you don't, they never (almost) give it to you, as business buy those fapiaos from gov.

We asked for them quite often and they gave them each time. Total, we won 2 cans of Coke and maybe 10 yuan :)

Fun fact - fapiaos you get might be fake. Once I got fake fapiao, printed from fake printer, in fake taxi. I know it's fake because I tried to validate it online (there's service for that) after I noticed I got fake bill :/

Ah okay. That's not so surprising I guess. Sometimes I feel TW has some advantage over China in being small. Like a startup, it can implement and pivot easily.

Is this game-able by buying lots of things for a penny each from your own store, that kind of thing?

Somewhat but I imagine you'd risk getting caught =)

One thing I wonder is if you have an increased likelihood of winning if you buy more. Does a $1 purchase give you the same chance to win $100 as a $20 purchase? I don't really know. Over 100 receipts you usually win like $5

Make the winnings be a multiplier of the tax paid on the receipt.

Maybe they could make each receipt give you a block of numbers in proportion to how much you spent.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact