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Switzerland cuts e-book VAT to 2.5%

  • Oct 20, 2017 | Richard Asquith

Switzerland cuts e-book VAT to 2.5%

Switzerland is to reduce the VAT rate on e-books from 8% to 2.5% on 1 January 2018. This will bring the VAT rate on electronic books into line with that on printed books.

The main Swiss VAT rate will also drop from 8% to 7.7% on the same date.

The European Union has been debating a similar harmonisation of their printed and e-book VAT rates. Currently, under the terms of Annex II of the EU VAT Directive, all 28 member states must charge their standard VAT rate on e-books. Most states have nil or reduced VAT rates on printed books. The anomaly has arisen because the VAT Directive was compiled before the emergence of e-books and so these we no listed in the Annex as qualifying for a reduced VAT rate.  The European Court of Justice ruled in 2015 that e-books must still be charged at the higher rate.  The EU member states have failed to agree on correcting the difference several times.


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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 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.