'Check lottery' will be checking out next year

The government-backed 'check lottery' or 'receipt lottery' launched with great fanfare in 2019 will be wound up next year, according to government plans.

The stated purpose of the check lottery was to promote fair competition and voluntary fulfilment of tax obligations by encouraging buyers to demand checks and receipts for purchased goods and services.

In order to participate in the lottery, a receipt, check, or ticket has to be registered on cekuloterija.lv by providing some information. The information obtained from the lottery is used by the VID tax authority for preventive activities relating to tax avoidance.

On Tuesday, November 15, the Cabinet of Ministers conceptually agreed to end the operation of the check lottery from next year. The Ministry of Finance (FM) has assessed that initially the lottery was evaluated as an effective tool in the work of the State Revenue Service (VID) and in reducing the shadow economy. However, the population's interest in it has waned, making it pointless to continue, according to the ministry.

It is planned that the final prize draw will take place in February 2023.

Both the number of check lottery participants and payment documents submitted have gradually and consistently decreased since the publicity blitz surrounding its launch.

the number of people participating has fallen and is now is 20% below the average of 43,000 participants regarded as making the lottery worthwhile. A second efficiency criterion, regarding the number of submitted payment documents, is 11% below the planned number of 830,000 checks.

Finance Minister Jānis Reirs (Jaunā Vienotība) noted that, in his opinion, another reason to end the promotion is the fact that the SRS has not been able to implement the originally planned idea with the check lottery. In other words, the checks were not checked actively enough. 

"There is a very low response from the residents - so these checks are not sent. Then it happens that there are more active people, who also end up winning more often, and this again raises suspicions of some kind of unfair things," said the minister.

Nevertheless, the initiative has not been a complete waste of time, the report concludes. As well as lottery winners pocketing their prizes and raising awareness of the need for proper receipts for goods and services, additionally declared taxes are calculated to have contributed some 2 million euros to the state budget in 2020 and 1.7 million euros in 2021.

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