Taiwan receipt lottery Uniform invoice award

Okay, so it may not be the number one thing you need to know, but we feel it’s a pretty good thing to find out about before you get there!

When we first got to Taipei, we endeavoured to meet new people and really get a sense of Taiwan – the food, the culture, the hidden local secrets – and we did meet quite a few people in the first week who showed us around, pointed us in the direction of restaurants with amazing food and told us about some local hot-spots. But no one ever mentioned a lottery. The second week in Taipei we met up with a couple from the US who had been teaching English in Taiwan but had decided they would head back home after travelling a bit. We were fortunate enough to catch them on their last day in Taiwan and they invited us along on a hike. What we didn’t know is that they would provide us with the one piece of information that we (or at least Carolann) think should have been the first thing anyone told us upon arrival in Taiwan:

There’s a lottery in Taiwan… and it’s free!

BUT you have to save your receipts!! We discovered that each receipt issued contains a set of numbers at the top which are part of a country-wide lottery. The number is valid for the months also listed on the receipt and the draws occur for every two-month time frame. So, for us, the receipts we collected while there in January and February are all part of the same lottery with the numbers to be chosen on the 25th of the following month – March.

Known as the Uniform Invoice Award this bi-monthly lottery was put into place to encourage establishments to register with the government and make legal tax claims. It is an incentive for the customers to shop and dine at places that provide these receipts and thus an incentive for these establishments to register. After all, those 8-digits on the top of each receipt can win you up to 10 million NT (approximately $400,000CDN ) so it’s definitely motivation to frequent establishments that issue these “legal” receipts. Fortunate for us, foreigners are able to participate as well!

This might explain why most tellers are persistent, and consistent, in giving you your receipt.

We would estimate that around 85% of the places we ate or shopped at issued the receipts. In total, excluding the first week we were in Taipei (we threw away receipts because we didn’t know) we collected 167 of them.

That’s 167 lottery tickets for buying things we needed anyway! And that doesn’t include our receipts for our time spent in March.

How The Uniform Invoice Lottery Works

Taiwan lottery receipt

In total, 5 numbers are drawn. One 8-digit special prize draw for 10 million NT, one 8-digit grand prize draw for 2 million NT (about $80,000CDN), and three 8-digit numbers for the remainder of the prizes. For the three remaining 8-digit numbers you need to match the last 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 digits to claim a prize from 200NT (about $8CDN) to 200,000 NT (about $8000 CDN).

There are also three 3-digit bonus numbers and if you match these to the last three digits of any of your receipts, you win 200NT. It’s a bit confusing but once you have your receipts and see the outline of the prizes, it becomes much clearer.

The only downside for us was having to collect and carry all of the receipts wherever we went. We even had to bring them to Japan as the draw was not held until recently and we will now be carrying our March receipts until May 25 when the next draw is held.

So, you may be asking, did we win? We did win 200NT but it would need to have been a hefty sum for us to go back to Taiwan to claim the prize! It was still fun to hope for more, and hey, there’s still the lottery tickets – er receipts – from March!!

 

You Can Do It Too!

It may seem a bit daunting to have to go through so many numbers to check if you’ve won but it really isn’t so bad. You just have to start by checking the last three digits of your receipts and work backwards from there. 

 For example, the three main 8-digit numbers for Jan and Feb were 63856949, 39459262, and 61944942. Matching the last three digits – 949, 262 or 942 – would win you 200NT; matching the last four digits – 6949, 9262 and 4942 – will win you 1000NT and so on. 

If you’re looking to collect receipts, you’ll want to be aware of which places issue these “legal receipts” and collect them as you go.

Winning numbers will be posted on the Ministry of Finance, ROC, website on the 25th day of every odd numbered month. The draw is for the previous two months receipts and each receipt contains the lottery number as well as the months for which the number is valid (e.g. 01-02) for your reference.

Tip: We created an Excel spreadsheet with all the receipt numbers we got as we went along and kept the receipts bundled together. We were then able to simply search for each of the prize numbers (last three digits first) to see if they matched any of ours. We’ve set one up for our March receipts as well. It may take away from the fun of checking each receipt, but we really don’t have the time to do so and, as long as we typed the numbers in correctly, we’ve created a quick check for any winning receipts.

 

What do you think of the lottery? Comment below and let us know! Is this something more countries should implement to increase legal taxing and accurate tax claims?

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31 replies
  1. Lesley Peterson
    Lesley Peterson says:

    Who’s the genius who came up with this? Obtaining eager compliance with the tax department by appealing to people’s desires. And lottery tickets for free! instead of what they usually are, a ‘tax on the desperate’. Seriously genius. I think Canada needs this.

    Reply
  2. Tag Along Deb
    Tag Along Deb says:

    I agree this is a fantastic solution to tax problem on government’s part. Heard of a similar scheme in a developing country that encouraged saving money in a bank. Every time you reached a certain threshold in savings you were entered to win a cash prize. Helped encourage a culture of saving and trust in bank system. Incentives are ingenious.
    Tag Along Deb recently posted…Tagging along and flying unaccompanied as a minorMy Profile

    Reply
    • onemoderncouple
      onemoderncouple says:

      It was very random! We worked hard at keeping the receipts organized as we travel light and don’t do well with disorganization when we’re on the move. We’ll be honest, we were sad we didn’t win big! haha

      Reply
  3. Veronika
    Veronika says:

    HI!I think its genius idea of the government. When I started to live in Taiwan, i collected the receipts. The result: mess in my room. I was really lazy to check whether I won. But Taiwanese – they love it!

    Reply
    • onemoderncouple
      onemoderncouple says:

      We heard several people say they gave up on organizing their receipts. We ended up having to carry them around with us while we travelled for several months after we left – just in case!

      Reply
    • onemoderncouple
      onemoderncouple says:

      They give the small winnings through convenience stores even BUT larger winnings you’d need to have an account which means you’d have to go through a third party – we made tons of friends there so we had a way if we did win! Plus, with such kind people, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a trustworthy and helpful person to help you claim the prize!

      Reply
  4. Meg Jerrard
    Meg Jerrard says:

    Wow this is cool! Such a genius incentive for the government to put into place. Traveling to Taiwan I don’t know if there really would be any way that travelelrs would know about this scheme, as you said it probably would have been a hefty sum to travel back and collect but still awesome to say that you won the lottery all the same :D!

    Sorry you didn’t win this time, perhaps on your next trip back!
    Meg Jerrard recently posted…How to Save Money on a Ski VacationMy Profile

    Reply
  5. Jennifer Ryder Joslin
    Jennifer Ryder Joslin says:

    This is such a cool idea! Will definitely need to remember this when we go to Taiwan! When we lived in Northern China some receipts were also scratchers and you could win small sums of money, but we never figured out where to claim it :p
    Jennifer Ryder Joslin recently posted…Scam Story BurmaMy Profile

    Reply

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