ROME—Italy is rolling the dice on a new attempt to stamp out tax evasion: a lottery in which only people who ask for receipts can take part.
Beginning Jan. 1, shoppers will receive a virtual ticket for each euro they spend in any store, so long as they ask for a receipt. Seven people will win 5,000 euros, equivalent to about $6,100, each week, with a top prize of €5 million at the end of next year.
The idea is to use the allure of cash prizes to ensure transactions are recorded and a levy is paid on them in a bid to reduce the tax dodging that has weighed on Italy’s economy for decades. The lottery complements another program in which shoppers can get cash back of up to 10% of whatever they spend until the end of the year, up to a total of €150, if they use their card.
Italy isn’t the first country to try the approach. Governments in several countries have turned receipts into lottery tickets to persuade shoppers to demand that their purchases go on the books, including China, some states in Brazil, the Czech Republic and Portugal. Some have found it an effective way to increase tax revenue without increasing rates.