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EU ECJ no to e-book reduced VAT

  • Mar 6, 2017 | Richard Asquith

EU ECJ no to e-book reduced VAT

The European Court of Justice has today ruled (Case C-390/15) that e-books are not entitled to the same reduced EU VAT rates as printed books.

The court held that having differing rates was not discriminatory, and that the EU Parliament did not need to be consulted on the issue.  Currently, only printed books are included within Annex III of the VAT Directive, which specifics goods which may benefit in the EU from reduced VAT rates.

The decision underlines infringement proceedings the court took last year against Luxembourg and France.

EC e-book reduced VAT rates

The European Commission in December proposed that member states agree to allow reduced VAT rates on electronic books.  This may be confirmed this year, and implemented for the start of 2018.

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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 can be contacted at: He is part of the European leadership team which won International Tax Review's 2019 Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard qualified as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.