Members' Research Service By / May 30, 2017

Reduced VAT rate for e-publications [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Cécile Remeur (3rd edition, updated on 20.12.2018), The fact that print and digital publications have been subject to…

© Vincenzo De Bernardo/ Fotolia
Written by Cécile Remeur (3rd edition, updated on 20.12.2018),
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© Vincenzo De Bernardo/ Fotolia
The fact that print and digital publications have been subject to separate value added tax (VAT) rates essentially means that products that are considered to be comparable and substitutable have been treated differently to one another. This situation resulted from rules which, on the one hand, allowed Member States to apply reduced rates to printed publications, but on the other excluded this possibility for digital publications. In addition, the evolution in the VAT framework means that VAT on digital services should be levied in the Member State where the consumer is based (thus protecting the single market from application of different rates within a Member State because of the different location of providers).   The question of broadening the possibility to apply reduced rates to all publications, be they print or digital, was addressed as part of the VAT digital single market package. The amendment to the VAT directive was adopted by the Council on 6 November 2018, after the European Parliament had delivered its opinion on 1 June 2017. The new rules allow Member States to apply the reduced rate to e-publications, as from 4 December 2018.

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Proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC, as regards rates of value added tax applied to books, newspapers and periodicals
Committee responsible: Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) COM(2016) 758 1.12.2016 2016/0374(CNS)

Consultation procedure – Parliament adopts a non-binding opinion)

Rapporteur: Tom Vandenkendelaere (EPP, Belgium)
Shadow rapporteurs:           Mady Delvaux (S&D, Luxembourg) Bernd Lucke (ECR, Germany) Cora Van Nieuwenhuizen (ALDE, the Netherlands) Paloma López Bermejo (GUE/NGL, Spain) Molly Scott Cato (Greens/EFA, UK) Barbara Kappel (ENF, Austria)
Procedure completed. Council Directive (EU) 2018/1713 OJ L286, 14.11.2018 pp 20-21
timeline 7 steps finished - adoption by council

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