Weekly IVU Loto drawings will offer higher prizes starting Nov. 29, in an effort by the Treasury Department to increase retailer participation rates from the current 33,250, agency chief Jesús Méndez said Monday.
The top prize for the twice-weekly drawings will increase five-fold to $25,000, while the single $1,000 and eight $500 prizes currently paid out will remain the same, he said.
“The sweepstake will begin Nov. 29, which means that Black Friday sales fall within that drawing,” he said during a news conference at the agency’s Puerta de Tierra headquarters. “Those who have the habit of shopping intensely that day know that they’re in the running for a $25,000 prize.”
During the news conference, Méndez also unveiled the new technological tools the agency will use to continue cracking down on businesses that are not reporting sales and use tax revenue, known as IVU in Spanish.
“Due to the first findings that the first IVU Loto terminals revealed, Treasury has initiated a control initiative, sending letters to thousands of businesses that were not filing their monthly IVU tax returns,” Méndez said, noting the agency has mailed notices to 7,460 businesses.
“With this effort, in just six weeks, we’ve received 4,067 tax returns from businesses that previously did not file,” he noted.
The agency’s control methods have also uncovered businesses that were not reporting their cash sales. As of July, only 73 percent of participating businesses were reporting their cash, credit and debit sales. That number has increased to 88 percent, he said.
On Monday, the public servant offered details of the renewed IVU Loto website and the upcoming launch of an mobile phone app that will help consumers check whether the participation code on their receipts have won.
“We’ve listened to consumers who wanted new ways to verify their receipts and we’ve launched the website and soon the app. Consumers can trust their information is safe, aside from it being the only one that offers the chance to win prizes in addition to the weekly drawings,” he said.
Users will be able to register their receipts on the website to participate in a special weekly drawing that will begin Dec. 3, awarding five $1,000 prizes and — periodically — larger items such as the Jeep Patriot to be given away Jan. 14, 2012.