24/10/2013 Leave a comment
The lack of harmonisation across the EU never fails to surprise me. I understand that it is extremely difficult to achieve unity between the 28 states; still we have been doing it for a while now, so you’d think some kind of standardisation of taxes at least would be in force by now.
At the moment VAT on e-books is charged at different rates in different EU countries.
In the UK e-books carry 20% VAT while print books are free of tax. In France e-books have 5.5% VAT, while in Luxembourg where Amazon is based, the VAT is charged at 3 percent.
This week, however, according The Bookseller magazine, the European Council is going to debate the issue, with the aim of harmonising VAT on e-books across Europe.
Related to this issue is a new EU regulation coming into force in 2015, which states that VAT has to be charged at the rate in force in the country where the book is sold, not in the country where the e-store is based. This will make pricing decisions more complicated, but, on the other hand, if the UK becomes VAT free for e-books, it will also reduce the price of the books sold to UK readers.
Here’s hoping that the European Council will come to the right decision for us, and that e-books will in the future be charged at 0% rate VAT, to make them equal to print books. Because, even if e-books are generally cheaper than print books, surely there is absolutely no reason to charge VAT on the digital content if the print copy doesn’t carry it?
Here’s a link to The Bookseller article for more information.