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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.106
Game of Tax. The peculiar relations between citizens and state in Georgia viewed through an invoice lottery
Taxation and gambling are two very different ways of exchanging. Gambling is voluntary and seems lively, effortless and playful, yet studies of gambling show the seriousness involved and its ritualistic qualities. Gambling maintains the rigid hierarchy among the Balinese (Geertz 1973), displays Greek masculinity through nonchalant behavior (Herzfeld 1991) and reinforces social inequality (Binde 2005). Taxation on the other is governments dull revenue collection forcing citizens and other taxable bodies to pay. Taxation is what politics is all about: who should pay, how much is needed, and how and on whom should the state spend the revenue. It is a way to understand any society and its political life (Schumpeter 1954). Taxation have redistributive effects – just like gambling are said to have (Woodburn 1982). What can a combination of such diverse exchanges have on our understanding of a given society? Based on fieldwork among stakeholders and participants in the Georgian version of a tax lottery tried in 2012, this presentation explores its socio-economic implications to the background of the country’s rapid political and economic development. The purpose of a tax lottery is increased tax compliance. It aims to motivate consumers in any commercial transaction to ask for a receipt qua lottery ticket and ensure that businesses pay due taxes. Tax lotteries thus have a dual function; more revenue is collected from businesses while making consumer do soft-policing work while having the chance of a win.