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EU opinion on e-book VAT

  • Sep 11, 2016 | Richard Asquith

EU opinion on e-book VAT

The European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) Advocate General (AG) has declared that the current EU practice of denying e-books the benefit of reduced VAT granted to printed books is compatible with the principle of equal treatment. This was on the basis of the method of physical distribution – e-books and printed books are provided via differing means.

The opinion follows a review request from the Polish Constitutional Court. In addition to e-books, the opinion covers online newspapers and journals.

AG opinions are not binding on the ECJ. The European Commission is planning to introduce legislation next month permitting states to charge reduced VAT rate on e-books sometime in 2017.

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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.