You know that Pinoy saying, “May pera sa resibo” (There’s money in a receipt)? Well, I’ve just experienced it this afternoon.
Here in Taiwan, me and my Pinoy friends keep receipts because each of them is also as a lottery ticket. Draw date happens every two months and results are posted online. The minimum amount you can win is NT$ 200 while the grand prize goes for a whopping NT$ 10,000,000. We’ve always fantasized about the possibilities of winning that grand prize and splitting it amongst ourselves. Sad to say, it has not materialized YET.
We have this grand dream that should one of us win, we’ll be on the first plane back to Pinas. Well, that’s after we pay the tax that goes with the prize money. For now, I’m happy enough to have won NT$400 during last March’s draw. The most I ever won was NT$ 600 but unfortunately, I didn’t have time to redeem it at the nearest post office.
Now, I decided to see how easy it’ll be to try to redeem the cash prize. You see, there’s a couple of ways you can get what you won. First, and this is what I used to do, you can spend a minimum of NT$ 200 at convenience stores. I used to do this since it’s easier and also helps me save on groceries. Second is by going to your nearest post office to claim the cash prize equivalent.
A recent trip to the post office near Minquan West Road MRT station got me curious to finally try the second way. I’ve been to smaller post offices in Taipei and they tend to be manned by elderly folks. You’ll hardly see an English sign. So it’s kind of imperative that you read/write, or at the very least, speak fluent Mandarin—all of which I’m still on daycare level. Either that or you’d need to tag along a local friend who would amiably do the whole process for you.
So, back to Minquan West Road post office. One part of it is for postal services while the other part is banking. I’ve been encouraged to try redeeming my winning recieipts there because I’ve seen English signs. I thought I might as well try and bug them with my limited Mandarin skills. And today I did. Btw, the post office is open from 8AM to 5PM on weekdays.
The whole process took less than 5 minutes. First, I had to get a number and then wait for my turn, which is right away since there’s just one person transacting via the counter before me. I just handed my receipts and my ARC, quietly waited as the girl asked something to her colleague as she referred to me as a foreigner (trust me half of this was assumption since I heard the word “English” spoken in Mandarin), and boom! There goes my NT$400 and ARC on the red plate, ready for me to spend. Yeeha!
Prizes below NT$ 1,000 are tax-free. Anything beyond has a 20% tax (which they say you can ask to be deducted from your winnings) and the grand prize down to the third prize needs to be redeemed at the Taiwan Cooperative Bank.
The setback? Well, unfortunately this lottery thing is only for residents with a valid Taiwan ID or ARC. So if you are a tourist visiting Taiwan, you’ve got to hand over those receipts to folks like me instead! Hehehe. Or you can also leave them in those donation boxes you’ll find at any store counter. Pretty cool, right? Instead of doling out money, you can just donate your receipt instead.
For more information on filling out the receipt, and for dates and other information, you can check out Tealit.
Happy checking and good luck to us this coming 25th!