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France to Reduce VAT on E-books to 5.5% Starting in 2012

By Siobhan O’Leary


In several European countries, books are subject to a reduced VAT rate in light of their status as a “cultural” product. This has been complicated by the emergence of e-books, which tend to be viewed as electronic products for taxation purposes and are thus subject to full VAT (19% in Germany, as opposed to the reduced rate of 7%). As a result, there are cases when the end customer pays more for an e-book than for its print counterpart, simply because of the VAT discrepancy.

Though the issue has not yet been resolved in Germany, representatives of France’s Senate and National Assembly have now ruled in favor of applying a reduced VAT of 5.5% to e-books. However, much to the chagrin of publishers and customers alike, the new policy will not go into effect until January 2012.

The Spanish government passed a similar measure exactly a year ago, proposing a reduction of the e-book VAT to 4% — the same rate as for paper
books. Can Germany be far behind?

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  1. Posted December 14, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Actually ebook VAT in Spain is 18%, only p-books are 4%.

  2. Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    Journalisme, Edward Nawotka, is one thing. The clear English language is another. The article on which the correction of Robert Falco is based states quite clearly: “The Spanish government passed a similar measure exactly a year ago, reducing the e-book VAT to 4% — the same rate as for paper
    books.” Your article does not state ‘proposing’. Unless, of course, your article is not the article that PP has published on this page. In which case, What you see is not what you see… As a mere mortal, I can only comment on what I see.

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