The Council of the European Union has amended Directive 2006/112/EC to enable EU member states to apply reduced rates of VAT to electronically supplied publications. 

Currently books, newspapers and periodicals are zero rated for VAT but electronically supplied publications are standard rated.

The measure is in line with the communication of the Commission of 6 May 2015 on a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe and is in order to keep abreast of technological progress in a digital economy.


All online publishers will now be extremely keen for the governments to remove the 20% VAT charged on e-books and other digital publications, including talking books and online newpapers. Several member states including France and Italy have announced that they will lower their rates.

External Links

EU Council Directive 20148/1713

Zero rating books and printed matter (HMRC VAT Notice 701/10)