Notes From Hairenik
A few weeks ago while riding the metro to work I noticed a sign in the train car reading that consumers should be sure to take sales receipts so that they will win money. I didn't understand the logic in that naturally so I shrugged it off and went to the office. 

Turns out that the government is now requiring and enforcing that all stores, no matter how small, install cash registers, or calculators at least as many vendors are using, to print receipts. The paper rolls that the receipts are printed on are government issued. Each receipt has printed on it the total amount of goods sold, the date and time of the sale, and some odd identification numbers. The receipts are known as "fiscal checks." Even if you buy a 70 cent loaf of bread you are issued a receipt, in addition to the store receipt, if it even prints them. 

On the back of each check is an eight-digit number which ends with an Armenian letter. Apparently at some time in the near future these numbers will be called, like in a lottery, and if the number called matches the one on your receipt you can win money--up to $16,000 if you're lucky enough. I'm guessing they're going to do this on public television--I haven't heard otherwise. I am not ashamed to admit that I am indeed saving all the receipts that I receive, in case I happen to win enough cash to put down towards the payment of an apartment. You never know.

The tax authorities are cracking down on tax evasion, so everyone has to pay up no matter what kind of business they are running. So far the only people who seem to be getting away from using registers are vendors in open markets, who I doubt pay taxes to begin with. 

If issuing government-mandated receipts are going to ensure vendors pay taxes then I am all for it. Too few people pay taxes in Armenian society, especially the oligarchs who report losses to avoid paying what they really should be. 

Taxes are taken out of my monthly paycheck, and once a year I have to pay automobile-related taxes, like clean air tax--I have no idea where that money goes. Naturally I have no issues with having to pay them since I live in Armenian society. So what's the excuse of thousands of citizens who make money but refuse to pay?

There's some more information about this issue here.


Blogger nazarian said...
Yeah, I like this and I have posted about it in my blog, too.

My great hope is that this will help create a civil society where rules and laws are respected. Also, if the people are paying taxes, hopefully they will want to know how their taxes are being used.