Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
You last visited December 10, 2016, 9:32 am
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

Puerto Rico turns store receipts into lottery tickets

Puerto Rico LotteryPuerto Rico Lottery: Puerto Rico turns store receipts into lottery tickets

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Don't throw out that lunch receipt: It could be worth $1,000.

That's the idea behind a campaign to force Puerto Rico's many tiny markets, food stalls and other mom-and-pop businesses to collect sales tax.

Puerto Rico's Treasury Department is transforming receipts into lottery tickets, printing contest numbers on each receipt and holding weekly drawings for cash prizes ranging from $100 to $1,000. It also plans to have a monthly drawing for a car.

A pilot program started in December in the southern city of Ponce and will be expanded island-wide in July.

The government wants prize-hungry consumers to demand receipts, discouraging businesses from dodging the 7 percent sales tax by making unrecorded cash sales.

Theoretically, the idea should be a winner on an island where lotteries are popular, but initial results aren't very encouraging: Eight winning tickets have been drawn so far and not a single consumer has come forward to claim a prize. Winners have up to 30 days to collect, and some receipts have already expired.

"It's a challenge," concedes Jose Carlos Colon de Jesus, a special assistant in the Treasury Department. "We have to change the mentality of the Puerto Rican so they demand their receipt."

The government plans a media blitz to promote the program, adding to heavy coverage by local newspapers, TV and radio. So far, though, it's been to little avail in Ponce, Puerto Rico's second largest city with nearly 200,000 people.

Wanda Colon, manager of a Church's Chicken restaurant in the city, said she's had customers ask where they can check to see if they have a winning number, but said many people don't seem aware of the program. She has had to remind them to take their receipt and why.

"They open their eyes really wide," Colon said. "Those who don't know say, 'How is that possible?'"

Four of Church's customers in Ponce have won $1,000. But none has collected.

The government says it is spending about $16 million on the effort, including equipment to print receipts with lottery numbers. But it is seeking a big payoff: The Treasury Department hopes to collect $400 million in additional sales tax revenue in two years as a result of the program.

Puerto Rican officials say they were inspired by Argentina, where a similar program several years ago led to improved tax collection.

That country aimed to crack down on tax evaders and black-market sales, and officials ran the program for about two years, said Oscar Murcia, an adviser to the president of the National Lottery agency.

It ended successfully after people became accustomed to demanding receipts, leading to increased revenues as tax evasion dropped, he said by phone from Buenos Aires.

Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, has a formal economy that looks much like the mainland, with many of the same chain restaurants and stores. But it also has a large and varied underground economy - one where people deal in cash, keep few records and don't pay all the taxes the government thinks it should collect.

Roadside food stands are ubiquitous, offering savory empanadas and fritters, as are the small groceries known locally as colmados, their cramped shelves spilling over with bread, canned goods, beer and crackers.

Puerto Rico took in $1 billion in sales tax last year, but authorities estimate the government is only collecting about 52 percent of what it's owed under the law. It hopes the lottery will drive that number to 72 percent within three years. Any revenue is a priority for an island government that has laid off thousands of workers in recent years.

Some think the goal is optimistic. Sergio Marxuach, public policy director with the Center for the New Economy think tank in San Juan, predicted the take will fall short of the $400 million the government seeks. "I am a little bit skeptical of using technological silver bullets to help solve compliance problems," he added.

Other problems with the pilot program have been reported.

Officials acknowledged that people are not necessarily demanding receipts for more goods. Instead, they are divvying up their purchases to obtain more receipts.

They also said that some might view the program as a form of gambling that goes against their religious beliefs. If that's the case, they can donate winnings to charity, said Luis Rivera, secretary of the Consumer Affairs Department.

The program rolls out island-wide on July 1, and businesses that refuse to use the state-issued receipt machines will be fined $20,000. Those caught withholding receipts from customers will receive a $100 fine.

Officials hold a drawing each Tuesday for $1,000 prizes and plan to add four $500 prizes and 10 of $100, though the system is still be adjusted and the awards could be changed in coming months. A Saturday drawing will be added by late February.

Once a month, the government also will randomly select a receipt and give away a car.

AP

We'd love to see your comments here!  Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.

17 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by dpoly1.
Page 1 of 2
dpoly1's avatar - driver
PA
United States
Member #66141
October 16, 2008
1672 Posts
Offline
Posted: February 8, 2011, 12:47 pm - IP Logged

I can't decide if this is good, or bad!

It seems like Government may be trying to take advantage of people again ............. not the first time ....................

    sully16's avatar - sharan
    Ringleader
    Michigan
    United States
    Member #81740
    October 28, 2009
    40609 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: February 8, 2011, 1:02 pm - IP Logged

    I can't decide if this is good, or bad!

    It seems like Government may be trying to take advantage of people again ............. not the first time ....................

    It is an okay idea, think of it this way, if a store owner is going to charge you tax, do you think they should be able to poket it?

    They are trying to stop the cheats without raising taxes and also giving consumers a chance to pocket a little extra.

    Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

    For a lead role in a cage?

     

                                                From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

      megamanX's avatar - mega man_x_sprite-9629.jpg
      Pocatello, Idaho
      United States
      Member #105619
      February 3, 2011
      59 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: February 8, 2011, 2:25 pm - IP Logged

      i'll keep this in mind next time i'm in Puerto Rico, which will be never

        HaveABall's avatar - rocket

        United States
        Member #72448
        March 18, 2009
        1228 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: February 8, 2011, 4:55 pm - IP Logged

        The government is stepping on the PRIVATE business AGAIN.  What does private mean -- apparently nothing if you are in a 'communist' regime.  Now businesses will be forced into paying the government for a machine (plus expensive paper and expensive ink) that they have no choice about. 

        Also, now people who buy groceries and ready-made items and services will be charged a very high 7% additional tax by the government ... without necessarily getting anything in return (tax monies may instead be taken by those individuals who control the coffers and also those 'connected' individuals who get hired into a government job through KNOWING someone high-up in city, county, state, and/or federal government).

        Purchasing peoples, 7% EXTRA fees is not wise for a mere $100 - mini vehicle possible prize ... put on your calculator/thinking hats! Dupe Alert

        Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

        Disney

          Avatar
          New Member
          Stafford,Tx
          United States
          Member #94852
          July 28, 2010
          2 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: February 8, 2011, 7:49 pm - IP Logged

          went was the last time that number 0221 come ouf

            savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
            adelaide sa
            Australia
            Member #37136
            April 11, 2006
            3300 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: February 8, 2011, 8:18 pm - IP Logged

            yeah my 1st thought was how do theymake shops print lotto numbers on receipts.,.

            i mean isnt it upto shops to buy their own cash registers?

            but then ya commy country guess they can force you to buy what ever brand they want,

             

            still $1k a month draw isnt much of a prize.

             

            although i was thinking the other week about how id like ot get lotto numbers on all my shopping dsockets , you know being a lotto nut

            we once had lotto numbers printed on milk cartons for the end of year draw, boy did i have a load ofempty milk cartons lying around for a few months.

            2014 = -1016; 2015= -1409; 2016 JAN = -106; FEB= -81; MAR= -131; APR= - 87: MAY= -91; JUN= -39; JUL=-134; AUG= -124; SEP = -123; OCT= -84  NOV=- 73 TOT= -3498

            keno historic = -2291 ; 2015= -603; 2016= JAN=-32, FEB= +12 , MAR= -86, APR = -77. MAY= -48, JUN= -29, JUL=-71; AUG = -52; SEPT= -43; OCT = +56 NOV = -33 TOT= -3297

              Boney526's avatar - NjlpLogo
              New Jersey
              United States
              Member #99032
              October 18, 2010
              1439 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: February 8, 2011, 11:58 pm - IP Logged

              yeah my 1st thought was how do theymake shops print lotto numbers on receipts.,.

              i mean isnt it upto shops to buy their own cash registers?

              but then ya commy country guess they can force you to buy what ever brand they want,

               

              still $1k a month draw isnt much of a prize.

               

              although i was thinking the other week about how id like ot get lotto numbers on all my shopping dsockets , you know being a lotto nut

              we once had lotto numbers printed on milk cartons for the end of year draw, boy did i have a load ofempty milk cartons lying around for a few months.

              Puerto Rico isn't a communist country, it is a territory of the US.  There is probably a big socialist presence there, I don't doubt that.

               

              And to comment...  Bleh, I don't feel like it.  Taxes suck.  Forcing stores to buy new machines and supplies sucks.

                savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
                adelaide sa
                Australia
                Member #37136
                April 11, 2006
                3300 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: February 9, 2011, 6:47 am - IP Logged

                so if you are a store owner you say to customers who demand a recipt " ok it aint free thats an extra %7 sales tax if you want a  free lotto ticket "

                 

                see how eager people are to demand their " free " lotto ticket

                2014 = -1016; 2015= -1409; 2016 JAN = -106; FEB= -81; MAR= -131; APR= - 87: MAY= -91; JUN= -39; JUL=-134; AUG= -124; SEP = -123; OCT= -84  NOV=- 73 TOT= -3498

                keno historic = -2291 ; 2015= -603; 2016= JAN=-32, FEB= +12 , MAR= -86, APR = -77. MAY= -48, JUN= -29, JUL=-71; AUG = -52; SEPT= -43; OCT = +56 NOV = -33 TOT= -3297

                  Avatar
                  New Member
                  Stafford,Tx
                  United States
                  Member #94852
                  July 28, 2010
                  2 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: February 9, 2011, 2:02 pm - IP Logged

                  went was the time the number 0221 come ouf

                    sully16's avatar - sharan
                    Ringleader
                    Michigan
                    United States
                    Member #81740
                    October 28, 2009
                    40609 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: February 9, 2011, 2:57 pm - IP Logged

                    The government is stepping on the PRIVATE business AGAIN.  What does private mean -- apparently nothing if you are in a 'communist' regime.  Now businesses will be forced into paying the government for a machine (plus expensive paper and expensive ink) that they have no choice about. 

                    Also, now people who buy groceries and ready-made items and services will be charged a very high 7% additional tax by the government ... without necessarily getting anything in return (tax monies may instead be taken by those individuals who control the coffers and also those 'connected' individuals who get hired into a government job through KNOWING someone high-up in city, county, state, and/or federal government).

                    Purchasing peoples, 7% EXTRA fees is not wise for a mere $100 - mini vehicle possible prize ... put on your calculator/thinking hats! Dupe Alert

                    I think you mis-understood the article, the store owners are charging the customers the tax, it's already 7% across the board, the store owners are neglecting to report and hand over the taxes they collect.

                    I live in Michigan we have a 6% sales tax, that is charged to me on all non food items in every store thats here.

                    If I pay cash I stll pay the tax, the store owner doesn't get to pocket the tax I pay.

                    It does not matter what type of cash register they have.

                    If it were up to me there would be no sales tax period, yes the government gets to much,

                    It's not okay to charge someone sales tax and keep it just because it's the government that gets it, it's still stealing.

                    Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

                    For a lead role in a cage?

                     

                                                                From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

                      HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                      United States
                      Member #72448
                      March 18, 2009
                      1228 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: February 9, 2011, 5:00 pm - IP Logged

                      I think you mis-understood the article, the store owners are charging the customers the tax, it's already 7% across the board, the store owners are neglecting to report and hand over the taxes they collect.

                      I live in Michigan we have a 6% sales tax, that is charged to me on all non food items in every store thats here.

                      If I pay cash I stll pay the tax, the store owner doesn't get to pocket the tax I pay.

                      It does not matter what type of cash register they have.

                      If it were up to me there would be no sales tax period, yes the government gets to much,

                      It's not okay to charge someone sales tax and keep it just because it's the government that gets it, it's still stealing.

                      I didn't misunderstand.  I derived my understanding after reading the second and fifth paragraphs of the article. Hiding Behind Computer

                      Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

                      Disney

                        Grovel's avatar - f800e6a39fbfea795d1dcbb09f2244
                        Little Rock, AR
                        United States
                        Member #68365
                        December 19, 2008
                        241 Posts
                        Online
                        Posted: February 9, 2011, 5:46 pm - IP Logged

                        The government is stepping on the PRIVATE business AGAIN.  What does private mean -- apparently nothing if you are in a 'communist' regime.  Now businesses will be forced into paying the government for a machine (plus expensive paper and expensive ink) that they have no choice about. 

                        Also, now people who buy groceries and ready-made items and services will be charged a very high 7% additional tax by the government ... without necessarily getting anything in return (tax monies may instead be taken by those individuals who control the coffers and also those 'connected' individuals who get hired into a government job through KNOWING someone high-up in city, county, state, and/or federal government).

                        Purchasing peoples, 7% EXTRA fees is not wise for a mere $100 - mini vehicle possible prize ... put on your calculator/thinking hats! Dupe Alert

                        Wait, so the goverment is stepping on small business by making them pay the taxes they are required too instead of keeping it for themselves?

                         

                        You do relaize that taxes are used to pay for public services such as the police and fire department? If no one paid a single dime counties would not be able to run.

                          dpoly1's avatar - driver
                          PA
                          United States
                          Member #66141
                          October 16, 2008
                          1672 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: February 10, 2011, 9:49 am - IP Logged

                          Wait, so the goverment is stepping on small business by making them pay the taxes they are required too instead of keeping it for themselves?

                           

                          You do relaize that taxes are used to pay for public services such as the police and fire department? If no one paid a single dime counties would not be able to run.

                          You do realize that local, state & federal governments are run to the amusement of the government employees!  Mad

                          Cadillac pensions for government employees are bankrupting the constituents!  Cussing Face

                            Grovel's avatar - f800e6a39fbfea795d1dcbb09f2244
                            Little Rock, AR
                            United States
                            Member #68365
                            December 19, 2008
                            241 Posts
                            Online
                            Posted: February 10, 2011, 11:18 am - IP Logged

                            You do realize that local, state & federal governments are run to the amusement of the government employees!  Mad

                            Cadillac pensions for government employees are bankrupting the constituents!  Cussing Face

                            I have an idea. They should make paying taxes optional. If you don't want to pay you don't have too. Just don't expect 911  to show up if you need them. And you can forget about using the postal services. And the highways are off limit too.