Greece launches lottery to catch tax cheats

Greece lottery news

Greece will launch a lottery in coming months offering prizes to consumers using their credit or debit card to do their shopping in a bid to reduce rampant tax evasion, according to deputy finance minister Katerina Papanatsiou.

The Greek government will set aside 12 million euros in prize money every year for the lottery that will be held every week or month, Papanatsiou told radio station Sto Kokkino.

Rather than cash, prize money will be offered to winners in the form of credit that can be used for shopping. It is not clear whether the prize money will be subject to taxation.

Officials at the Finance Ministry believe that an increase in the use of plastic money will help reduce tax evasion and boost state revenues.

The introduction of capital controls in the summer of 2015 that forced many Greeks to shop by credit or debit card resulted in an unexpected bonus for the Finance Ministry, lifting value added taxes despite the economic downturn.

Greek officials are currently working on the technical details concerning the lottery with a ministerial decision on it expected to be signed by March, added Papanatsiou.