The VAT Lucky Draw which had been organised by the MRA has reaped many more fruits than it would have previously thought. The purpose of the lucky draw was to encourage consumers to demand for receipts from traders – a habit that not many Mauritius have developed. Another aim was to have traders issue invoices for their sales. The population was being targeted to be sensitized about the importance of VAT (Value Added Tax) and receipts.
The MRA had raised the stakes, and a huge amount of money – Rs 50 000 – was decided to be the first prize of the competition. Details of the invoice were to be sent to the MRA via text messaging or via the website. Also, around 90% of the population chose the E-Filing while only around 10000 persons manually filled out the form.
On top of accomplishing what it was meant to, the lucky draw revealed some other interesting facts: frauds, to be more specific. The competition demanded that participants send their invoices and receipts, obtained from transactions when buying commodities, to the MRA. As a consequence, a number of frauds from the part of the traders were exposed. Many of the receipts sent made no mention of VAT. Some other business-owners would only include it at the request of buyers. The behaviour of some others is even more shocking: they do charge for the VAT, but they keep this additional sum of money for themselves; they make consumers pay for the VAT, but this never finds its way to the MRA. Some other receipts were not in conformity to the norms.
The VAT Lucky Draw sure was an innovative way to raise awareness among the Mauritian population. Two birds hit with one stone; educating consumers and exposing the misdeeds of so many traders…