Uniform invoice lottery offers 8 top prizes of NT$10 million


TAIPEI–Eight lucky shoppers are likely to each win a record NT$10 million (US$340,000), the amount that will be the new grand prize in Friday’s uniform invoice lottery drawing, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) forecast yesterday.

To date, the biggest prize in the bimonthly drawing has been NT$2 million. However, in Friday’s drawing, valid for receipts issued in January and February of this year, there will be eight grand prizes of NT$10 million each, the biggest jackpot in the invoice lottery’s 50-year history.

The bigger jackpot is aimed at encouraging the public to make sure they collect receipts for their purchases, which is part of a government effort to prevent stores from dodging sales taxes, the MOF said.

The MOF said a total of NT$7.9 billion — 3 percent of the annual sales tax revenue — had been budgeted for the six draws in 2011, an increase of NT$2.6 billion from last year.

The probability of winning the grand prize is one in 100 million, and chance of winning the next biggest prize of NT$2 million has been cut from three in 100 million to one in 100 million, according to finance officials.

They estimated that all eight grand prizes up for grabs in the next drawing on Friday will be won.

The chance of winning the smallest prize of NT$200 has been increased from three in 1,000 to five in 1,000. Overall, an additional 1.3 million winners, on average, are expected.

People who opted to receive their purchase invoices electronically will not be left out, as store owners are obligated to inform such buyers of any wins within three days of the drawing, the MOF said.

One of the downsides to increasing the top prize in the lottery is likely to be a greater reluctance on the part of the public to donate the invoices to charity groups, which usually set up receipt collection boxes in or outside stores.

Earlier this year, a ruling Kuomintang lawmaker raised this issue in the legislature, which asked the MOF to review its cash prize policy and report back to the Legislative Yuan in six months. The ministry said it was still studying the issue.