Scrap the reading tax!

11 October 2018 It has been a longstanding principle that VAT is zero-rated on sales of printed books, in order to prevent a tax on reading and a tax on knowledge. An anomaly in EU law has prevented the Government from extending the same status to digital publications such as audiobooks and e-books. But earlier…

11 October 2018

It has been a longstanding principle that VAT is zero-rated on sales of printed books, in order to prevent a tax on reading and a tax on knowledge.

An anomaly in EU law has prevented the Government from extending the same status to digital publications such as audiobooks and e-books. But earlier this month the European Commission agreed to allow all member states to give e-books and audiobooks the same VAT-free status as printed books.

We are asking our members to write to your MPs, urging them to call on the Government to implement this change. We have drafted a template letter below, and you can find out here who your MP is and how to contact them.

If you do write in, it would be really helpful if you could let us know by emailing [email protected] so we have an idea of many emails have been sent. 

Template letter

Personal messages are always more effective in getting the attention of MPs, so please customise if possible, and remember to include your address in the email to prove that you are a constituent.  

Subject: Axe the reading tax

Dear

I am writing as your constituent and a member of the Society of Authors regarding VAT on digital publications such as e-books and audiobooks.

It has been a longstanding principle that VAT is zero-rated on sales of printed books, in order to prevent a tax on reading and a tax on knowledge.

An anomaly in EU law has prevented the Government from extending the same status to e-publications such as audiobooks and e-books. But the EU has now agreed to allow all member states to give e-books and audiobooks the same VAT-free status as printed books.

It is now within the UK’s power to axe the reading tax by reducing VAT on e-books and audiobooks to zero. The cost to the Treasury is likely to be negligible. But the impact on authors and readers would be considerable, enabling more books to be sold and more people to experience the pleasures and educational benefits of reading.

It is important that the UK does not delay and risk putting itself at a competitive disadvantage with other EU countries. I would therefore be grateful if you could write to the Chancellor, urging him to bring digital publications into line with printed books by reducing VAT down to 0%. Together, we can axe the reading tax.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Leave a Reply