What exactly is a fapiao? A fapiao 发票 is an official invoice that you receive when purchasing goods or services. These are issued by the Beijing local tax bureau and are used as a final proof-of-purchase, encouraging customers to get them, so taxes can be collected. To discourage merchants from not disclosing their receipts, the Chinese government introduced in 2002 a new series of fapiao that award customers by giving out cash prizes through a type of lottery. We’ll explain more about restaurant fapiao below.
Restaurants carry a fapiao that includes a "scratch-off" prize area on the top of the receipt. There are cash prizes for random fapiao, with them ranging anywhere from 10 RMB to thousands. If you scratch off the prize area and see the words 谢谢, or thanks, then your attempt at winning a prize has been unsuccessful. For the smaller cash prizes, you can redeem them directly at the restaurant. For larger prizes, you will have to visit the nearest local tax bureau office to claim your prize. You will need to claim your prize within 30 days of the date written on the invoice.
In order to get a fapiao, simply ask for one when you are paying your bill. Restaurants are required to do so, but in many cases, restaurants may ask if you’d accept a small gift like a bottle of soda if you forfeit getting a fapiao. They are simply trying to avoid recording your receipt to dodge the tax bureau, so it’s simply your own choice. Customers cannot be refused a fapiao, as it is illegal. There is no minimum for getting a fapiao. You can even request for one even if all you purchase is an ice cream at a McDonald’s or KFC.