Slovakia launches VAT lottery to improve tax collection. The Finance Ministry launches a new scheme to convert retail receipts into lottery tickets to encourage customers to actively request those receipts. Under the plan, lottery drawings will take place every 14 days beginning September 30. Ten prizes are being awarded with each drawing, the highest at €10,000 while all of them together come to €20,000. Each month there is a special drawing so that a person from each region in Slovakia is drawn. For Christmas the lottery company Tipos announced a special prize of €30,000. More than 430,000 people actively ‘play’ the VAT lottery. The scheme has shown to be successful as Slovaks enrolled more than 30 million receipts during the first two months and more retailers will enable automatic enrolment of their receipts as of the start of 2014. According to the Finance Ministry, the lottery has already helped to improve VAT collection and uncover tax fraudsters.
Slovakia’s competitiveness ranking falls. For the seventh year in a row Slovakia dropped on the list of competitiveness compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Compared to the previous year the country fell by seven positions to 78th place, its historically worst placement, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014. Slovakia is the second least competitive country of the European Union, trailing only Greece which placed 91st.

The state will become 100 percent holder of SPP. The Slovak government green lighted the takeover of the remaining 49 percent stake it did not yet own and acquired managerial control in SPP, the Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel gas utility from the Czech Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH). The deal was not fully completed until mid-December. Prime Minister Robert Fico sees the takeover as a way for the state to gain control over natural gas prices for households.

Crude oil refinery expands. The Bratislava-based Slovnaft refinery launched construction of a new unit for production of polyethylene with the price tag of more than €300 million.

Slovakia has deep VAT gap. In 2011, an estimated €2.77 billion, or 4 percent of GDP, slipped through the net of Slovakia’s value added tax collection. Based on extrapolations from GDP statistics, the state had expected to collect €7.5 billion in VAT but then received only €4.7 billion, the VAT gap study conducted by the European Commission showed. Slovakia placed fifth worst in the EU behind Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Greece.

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