Tissue Boxes As Returned Gifts Driven to Increase Donations in Eastern Japanese City

A set of handkerchiefs added to the list of “housing tax” donation return gifts for the town of Sano, Tochigi Prefecture, can be seen in this screenshot from the “Satofull” website.

SANO, Tochigi – The “tourist tax” initiative in this eastern Japanese city for fiscal year 2021 is doing well thanks to the driving force behind the “tissue box” included in the list of return gifts. donors since September.

The town of Sano, in Tochigi prefecture, had raked in some 548 million yen (about $ 4.79 million) as of December 22 under the “housing tax” system, in which people can make a donate to municipal governments of their choice and receive local property and tax breaks in return. , well in excess of the 71.36 million yen ($ 624,000) donated in fiscal year 2020. The city expects the final amount to reach 1.1 billion yen ($ 9.62 million) , or 15 times more than the previous exercise.

According to the city’s policy coordination division, there are two types of tissue boxes provided by a paper company with a factory in the city: a set of 60 boxes of 200 double-ply facial tissues will be given to those who make a donation of 12,000 yen (approximately $ 100), and for a donation of 10,000 yen ($ 87), a set of 60 boxes each containing 160 tissues will be sent to donors.

The two types of donations account for almost 30% of the value of the donations, the upper limit of the initiative. At the end of November, there were reportedly 13,086 requests for the 12,000 yen set and 4,385 requests for the 10,000 yen set.

Looking at the number of hometown tax claims per month, there were less than 1,000 from April to August, but the number soared to 5,400 in September – when handkerchiefs were added to the list of return gifts – 6,800 in October and 17,500 in November, bringing the total to about 49,000 requests as of December 22. The figure is expected to reach 100,000 by the end of fiscal 2021.

Sano’s efforts, such as expanding the line of return gifts from 121 items in the previous fiscal year to 202 and increasing the number of websites dealing with the merchandise, also contributed to the increase in sales. donations. A city official said: “Our hard work to improve our local tax payment system has paid off.

(Japanese original from Yuzuru Ota, Local Ashikaga Office)