The European Parliament have voted heavily in favour of amending the EC Directive 2006/112/EC, which is the leading law for VAT across Europe, to grant all Member States the right to treat electronically supplied publications in the same way as printed publications.

  • In the UK printed books are, with some exceptions, zero rated.
  • Electronically supplied publications, such as e-books, are currently standard rated.

The approval was subject to the following:

  • the commission must clarify whether the proposal will also apply to brochures, leaflets, children's picture books, children's colouring boks, printed musc, maps, etc.
  • it was suggested that adapted and audio electronic books, newspapers and periodicals should also be subject to the change, where the content is not predominantly music or video, but is to facilitate access to books etc. for blind or visually impaired persons.

With Brexit looming it remains to be seen if the UK will take any notice at all about what goes on in Europe from a VAT perspective, but for now, we are subject to any changes to the EC VAT Directive and we may see a change to the VAT rate on e-books before we leave.


Colouring books: zero-rated for children not for adults

A VAT update: What's New? May 2017


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