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EU e-book VAT update

  • Mar 27, 2017 | Richard Asquith

EU e-book VAT update

The Finance Ministers of the EU recently debated at ECOFIN the aligning of the VAT rates on e-books to the reduced VAT rates of their printed equivalent.  This follows a 2015 European Court of Justice ruling which held that e-books could not benefit from reduced VAT rates under the existing EU VAT Directive.

Several countries, including Germany, Spain and France, raised concerns that such a concession would trigger other campaign groups seeking similar tax subsidies for their causes. A few countries requested consideration to reduced VAT rates on internet services and women’s sanitary products.

EU member states also struggled to agree on the level of any potential rate reduction.  Many countries recommend only the reduced VAT rate - and not the super reduce VAT rate level.

It was agreed to resolve the above issues in time for the June ECOFIN meeting, and present draft legislation by the Autumn.


VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, helping businesses understand their compliance obligations as they grow globally. He is part of the European leadership team which won International Tax Review's 2020 Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard trained as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.