Just in time for tax filing season comes a new kind of lottery. It's called the Save Your Refund lottery, and it offers cash prize drawings for those who agree to save a portion of their tax refund. Weekly $100 prize drawings take place, with an eventual grand prize drawing of $25,000. The program launched last year with 750 participants, and this year has already seen some 2,300 people join in for a chance at the winnings. Pretti Mehta is a director with the Doorways to Dreams Fund, a nonprofit which runs the lottery. "The financial crisis has decimated people's savings and wages are stagnant, so there's not a lot of ways people can save money," she tells KTRH. "This way, we're trying to encourage people and make it fun for them to save."
In order to participate in the Save Your Refund Lottery, you first must file a special form with your tax return, IRS form 8888. That form allows you to place a portion of your tax refund from the IRS into a savings account or some other form of savings. If you save at least $50, you can then sign up for the lottery. The final step requires a picture. "You send in a photograph of your savings goal," says Mehta. "It could be anything...a lot of people save for their kids, or their next vacations." That photo is what enters you into the $25,000 grand prize drawing.
With less than two weeks left before the April 15 tax filing deadline, those who have procrastinated can still take part in the Save Your Refund lottery. The final weekly drawing is April 11, and the grand prize winner will be announced 30 days after Tax Day. Those who have already filed this year are out of luck. "But if they don't get to do it this year, we'd love for them to keep it in mind for next year," says Mehta.