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Increasing popularity of e-receipts leads to drop in charity donations

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The increasing popularity of electronic invoice receipts has lead to a significant drop in receipt donation, an important source of revenue for charity organizations, according to one of Taiwan's major charity groups.

The Taoyuan branch of the Genesis Social Welfare Foundation (GSWF), a nongovernmental organization dedicated to the welfare of vegetative patients and disabled elderly people, has recorded a 40-percent drop in invoice receipt donation in the past two years, according to the head of the GSWF branch Chen Shu-fen (陳淑芬).

Chen attributed the decline of around 2 million receipts to the government's introduction of a NT$10 million top prize in the Uniform Invoice Lottery and the rise of e-receipts. Based on the GSWF calculation, the loss of 2 million receipts roughly translates into a NT$2 million drop in revenue.

The Uniform Invoice Lottery is a state lottery operated by the Ministry of Finance to encourage Taiwanese customers to obtain receipts for every purchase from unified invoice-issuing companies (those with a monthly turnover of at least NT$200,000), thereby reducing the probability of underreporting business revenues for tax avoidance purposes. Winners of the lottery will receive monetary prizes, from a small prize of NT$200 to the top “special prize” of NT$10 million in the bimonthly draw. Since the invoice receipts are anonymous, they can be donated to charity groups that raise funds from the lottery winnings.

In 2011, the government increased the jackpot of the special prize from NT$2 million to NT$10 million, increasing the inclination of some to keep their receipts.

During her visit with Taoyuan County Magistrate John Wu (吳志揚) yesterday, Chen highlighted the impact of the revenue drop to her institute that currently provides care to 58 vegetative patients. Chen called on the public to donate receipts and urged Wu to lend his voice to the cause.

In response, Wu said that the GSWF has been famous for its promotion of invoice receipt donation. Wu promised to encourage his county government employees and the Taoyuan people to do their part, either by donating receipts or other materials to those in need.

People can also donate their e-receipts by displaying the barcodes of the charity organizations of their choice to the receipt-issuing business for scanning or via the Finance Ministry website (www.einvoice.nat.gov.tw/).

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