TaxCorporate TaxE-books to attract VAT after EU ruling

E-books to attract VAT after EU ruling

E-books are an 'electronic service', and as such cannot receive reduced rates of VAT like their hardcopy counterparts, top EU court rules

E-books to attract VAT after EU ruling

E-BOOKS will attract VAT at the standard rate after the European Court of Justice ruled they constitute an “electronic service”, rather than simply a book.

There had been a drive to see e-books receive the same zero-rated VAT treatment as their hardcopy counterparts, but the court found the regime could not be extended to take in digital products.

When a nation joins the EU, they can nominate a range of products and services for reduced VAT rates, and many countries failed to foresee the advent of digital media when they joined.

Amazon, the largest seller of e-books, said: “Like many of our customers, we believe that books in any format should be subject to the same reduced VAT rate.”

Head of VAT services at Baker Tilly Ian Carpenter said: “While the European Court’s judgment comes as little surprise, I doubt if this will be the end of the matter as the Digital Agenda for Europe has previously recognised the disparity of the application of VAT to printed books and e-books.

“One of the guiding principles of EU VAT law is that similar goods and services should be subject to the same VAT rate. The Commission itself recognises that where a VAT reduced rate, or even a zero or super-reduced rate, is allowed for printed books, it should also be applicable to e-books.”

Related Articles

EU divided over radical tax reforms targeting tech giants

Corporate Tax EU divided over radical tax reforms targeting tech giants

3w Alia Shoaib, Reporter
'Innocent' companies will be hit by tough HMRC anti-fraud powers

Corporate Tax 'Innocent' companies will be hit by tough HMRC anti-fraud powers

12m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Building company director banned for 7 years for VAT under-declaration

Corporate Tax Building company director banned for 7 years for VAT under-declaration

1y Richard Crump, Writer
CIoT urges government to rethink VAT approach to online traders

Corporate Tax CIoT urges government to rethink VAT approach to online traders

1y Richard Crump, Writer
EC plans new measures to improve tax transparency

Corporate Tax EC plans new measures to improve tax transparency

1y Richard Crump, Writer
Berkshire motor business VAT fraudsters sentenced

Corporate Tax Berkshire motor business VAT fraudsters sentenced

1y Richard Crump, Writer
Post-Brexit surge of EU tax cases expected

Corporate Tax Post-Brexit surge of EU tax cases expected

1y Richard Crump, Writer
The growth and challenges of digital sales taxes globally

Corporate Tax The growth and challenges of digital sales taxes globally

1y Editorial comment