Europe grants right to reduce VAT on ebooks

Martin Reed

Martin Reed

Martin leads the SoA's Communications team. He oversees our strategic communications and campaign-based activities, including PR, social media, events and partnerships.

EU member states can now reduce the rate to zero, in line with print.

After years of lobbying by authors and publishers, the European Parliament voted today to allow individual EU countries the right to reduce the VAT rate on ebooks.

Ebooks currently attract a 20% VAT charge because they are classified as an ‘electronic service’, unlike print books and newspapers. As well as being illogical, this tax makes it difficult to package physical and digital products together. Legislation has not yet caught up to technology, but now the UK Government has the power to rectify this.

Commenting on the vote, CEO of the Society of Authors Nicola Solomon said:

“We have always said that any tax on books is a tax on knowledge, so we welcome today’s vote. We have pushed for a zero-rate on ebooks since their invention, so now that the UK Government is free to implement one, we strongly urge them to do so, regardless of what stage we have reached in the Brexit negotiations. It’s worth pointing out that 97% of MEPs voted for this. With that level of political will behind it, I see no reason to delay acting on it.”

We would like to thank all members who completed last year’s EC consultation on the subject for their assistance in making this change happen. We will continue to push for the zero-rate to be implemented.

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