Tuesday

10th Dec 2019

Call for equal EU VAT rate on books

In 2002 VAT on books in Sweden was lowered from 22 to 6 per cent. Booksellers in south west Sweden immediatley started to sell Danish books, which was seen as unfair by Danish booksellers who are still left with the Danish 25 per cent VAT rate, according to Länstidningen Östersund.

"Grateful as we are to the possibility that printed books may be allocated a lower tax band, the European Booksellers Federation strongly believes that printed books should not be taxed at all throughout the EU in the future, and that under the harmonisation arrangements, any member state that wishes to allocate a 0% VAT rate for printed books should be allowed to do so", says the European Booksellers federation.

Variation of 0% to 25% VAT

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The VAT rate applied to printed books by member states throughout the EU currently varies from 0% to 25%. The Customs and Taxation Directorate within the European Commission is currently developing plans to harmonise VAT rates throughout the EU.

Indications suggest that future Member States may be instructed to allocate a VAT rate of no less than 15% on almost all products and services. However, EU countries may well be able to impose a reduced rate, of no less than 5%, on a small number of items, including printed books, say the European Booksellers Federation, which will now start a campaign for an EU book policy, according to Länstidningen.

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