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EU lowers eBook VAT

  • Sep 9, 2016 | Richard Asquith

EU lowers eBook VAT

The European Commission confirmed plans on 10 September to bring forward legislation to permit reduced VAT rates on ebooks. Currently, only printed books may enjoy the lower rates of VAT in EU states.

The move follows a European Court of Justice ruling last year against France and Luxembourg’s reduced VAT rates. The court found that since electronic books were not included with the list of goods entitled to a VAT subsidy (EU VAT Directive, Annex III), member states must instead charge their higher, standard rates. Paper-based books are listed in Annex III.

The proposed legislation will be published in November 2016, and can expect a quick ratification by EU. This could mean countries may be able to cut their electronic book VAT rates in early to mid 2017.


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: richard.asquith@avalara.com. 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.