Under the proposals, customers will have tax code cards scanned by shops and businesses and the information will then be sent to the national tax computer. These electronic bills will be numbered and cash prizes will be on offer for randomly selected winners.
Luigi Casero, the Deputy Minister of Economy, insisted that the prizes would be significant, ‘otherwise the mechanism will not work’. He also said in an interview with Corriere della Sera that ‘even the shopkeeper will have a reward’ as there will be prizes for companies which produce winning tickets.
Tax discounts will also be granted for the larger invoices generated by professional service providers, according to a report in The Times, but different business sectors will be randomly selected from year to year so customers will not know beforehand which sort of bills will be tax deductible.
It is hoped that the prospect of winning lottery prizes will bring down Italy’s tax evasion problem, which is currently estimated to be worth €109 billion. Similar strategies have been employed to good effect in other countries, including in Portugal where there have also been prizes such as luxury cars made available to try and cut down on tax evasion.
The scheme is set to be piloted next year, and it will be fascinating to see whether the idea of a lottery of receipts helps to boost Italy’s financial situation, as well as giving honest customers the chance to land some amazing prizes.