According to Sandra Maximiano, a behavioral economist and professor at ISEG, a comparison with last year or 2019, done by the government, is the easiest way to try to gauge the success of the scale, but Not quite rightDue to a number of other factors: June 2020 was an early stage of the epidemic, when there was still a lot of fear, and we did not have a vaccine, as now. Many people have not gone on vacations for fear of infection, and they do not want to be in public. The result: less consumption than usual. Now, after the second confinement, people want to go out and mingle; savings for months, you have a “more willingness to spend”; The vaccine brought some optimism. that is the reason, It was already normal for consumption to rise on its own.
The Portuguese accumulated €21.2 million in June on IVAucher
And José Araujo, an accountant nominated in the upcoming ACA elections, has a very critical evaluation of the program – for a very simple reason: If “The goal was to stimulate demand in these sectorsI have many doubts that this will happen because of a accumulation phase It occurred at a point when people were already consuming more (Summer break) and because the discount/use phase can also happen exclusively at a time when people are already consuming a lot, with holidays and long weekends, and of course Christmas shopping.”
“For the citizen, the program is not bad – Judging by the success of some points and loyalty cards that exist in Portugal, the Portuguese like this type of discount and If a gift is given, most of them will enjoy. But this does not mean that this adds much when looking at the initial goal – which is to support the entities and sectors most affected by the pandemic,” says José Araujo.
Knowing especially that the discounts accrued on IVAucher can be spent, for example, on buying books as Christmas gifts – something most Portuguese already do – José Araujo very much doubts that citizens feel the urgency to spend their money. accumulated discounts. “Do you think that in October or November, for example, I will stop going to one restaurant to go to another because the second restaurant joined IVAucher and the first did not? I don’t think so: I go to the restaurant I want and if I don’t take advantage of the discount on that day I take advantage of any other restaurant.”
The discount is automatic, and you won’t be able to “save it for Christmas”
IVAucher is a voluntary membership program, but from the moment the discount phase begins (October 1) It is not possible to choose the expenses for which you want to benefit from the discount – Or choose the discount percentage you want to use. That is, in practice, as of October 1st from the time you use your TIN (and the bank card with which you joined IVAucher), Discounts are applied automatically – always 50% off – In any and all expenses incurred by the taxpayer in the sectors covered. In other words, you won’t be able to “save the accrued discount” for book purchases on Christmas, for example (you can only do this if you sign up with IVAucher over the Christmas period or if you use a linked bank card)
For tax expert Afonso Arnaldo, IVAucher is a good idea that uses existing tools like e-invoice software. But in addition to the financial sector cooperation that has been essential from the start, There was a lack of a vigorous advertising campaign with consumers to encourage them to spend more In the quarter in which they can accumulate the balance. If the goal was to support the hardest-hit sectors, the incentive should have been strengthened soon, to report on the possibility of recovering these additional expenditures through discounts from October. “How many consumers today realize that they can turn their accumulated VAT into 50% discounts?“.
No campaign now being implemented for merchants will be in time to encourage overspending to take advantage of the discounts because the deadline for collecting the balance has expired at the end of August. To the observer, the Minister of State for Public Finance, Mendonca Mendez, justifies why a more intense campaign was not implemented. There were also restrictions on leisure travel and food in June – Weekend fencing in the Greater Lisbon area only ended in July – and some uncertainty About the next steps of disassembly.
Taxpayers with open activity must sort invoices by September 24
Deloitte Inspector Afonso Arnaldo also leaves out a warning for taxpayers with open business and Class B income – self-employed, independent professionals and sole proprietors. Invoices must be validated by September 24 to enter the system that calculates the Ivaucher balance, determining whether the expenditure was made in the business or personal context. Only in the latter case are they counted from the discount.
Such as a job The government has spent nearly €34,000 plus VAT to advertise the programme. It did this by investing in the presentation event attended by journalists, and in creating an image, logo and explanatory video. In other words, it has ruled out institutional advertising in traditional media that tend to reach more people – such as billboards, television, radio and newspapers – and more modern – such as social networks.
but There will be ways to “enhance program effectiveness” without increasing costsSandra Maximiano says. “Give examples of how the discount was spent. A meal that costs you X will cost you Y.” This would tempt you to continue consuming. Or provide a calculator for this calculation.” These are “nudge” techniques (a term from behavioral economics to describe techniques designed to influence people to make a particular choice) that help the taxpayer to “want to be a part”.
Another way would be, for example, to determine what percentage of expenditures each person bears and how they compare with the rest of the population – it would be “more like a competition between citizens”. Or say, “You’re contributing to the economy like that.” Strategies that Sandra Maximiano believes can lead to greater commitment.
Evaluate whether IVAucher really works as an incentive or rather as a reward For the already existing consumptions anyway it’s not easy. According to the economist Sandra Maximiano, ideally, we would have to repeat the month of June 2021, without incentive, to compare it with the same month with the stimulus, which of course is not possible. A more realistic way would be to have a trial period, for example, present the benefit by regions and compare the results for regions with and without IVAucher. Since this has not been done, there are at least other ways to try to assess some of the effects.
One of them, as we have seen, is the symmetric comparison, which is not without its drawbacks. It’s also easier to try to understand If there is an “immediate reaction” once the program goes into effect, on the 1st of June (a day reported by the media, with many speakers on the subject). “It will be interesting to see, for example in the culture sector, where people buy tickets in advance, Whether there was a spike after the announcement or not. Perhaps there were people who thought: “I have these tickets, I buy them now and start piling up.” This data is unknown.
The discounting stage will allow you to better understand the effectiveness of the procedure. “People have an aversion to loss. They feel that it is something they have acquired and that they will have to enjoy it. For example, it would be interesting to see if there is a peak in consumption as the program comes to an end,” says Sandra Maximiano, who argues that the program should end before Christmas, the time of high consumption, to avoid that taxpayers wait until Then to join.
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