New study builds pressure to reduce VAT on books, e-books (20 July 2015)


A new survey from the Federation of European Publishers and the International Publishers Association highlights major differences to taxing books and e-books.

The report, covering 79 countries, reveals that only 22% of nations apply the standard rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) or Goods and Services Tax (GST) to printed books, while 69% apply standard VAT/GST to e-books.

Key findings include:

• The global average VAT/GST rate for printed books is 5.75%
• The average VAT/GST rate for e-books is 12.25%
• Denmark applies the highest VAT/GST rate on printed books (25%)
• Hungary applies the highest VAT/GST rate on e-books (27%)
• Chile is the only Latin American country not to apply zero-rate VAT/GST to printed books.
• Israel is the only Middle Eastern country to apply standard VAT/GST to printed books.
• The majority of African countries surveyed (8 out of 13) have zero-rate VAT/GST on printed books.
Referencing the situation within the European Union, FEP Deputy Director Enrico Turrin said "reduced VAT rates are currently applied by 26 out of 28 member states. The next logical step is to let Member States apply the same fiscal regime to all types of books."

Commenting on the findings, IPA Policy Director José Borghino said that "e-books continue to labour under an unwarranted and obsolete discrimination. We call for a zero-rating for both printed books and e-books as the best way to support reading, education and a thriving knowledge economy."

The IPA/FEP global report on VAT/GST is available here.

Note to editors:
The Federation of European Publishers is an independent, non-commercial umbrella association of book publishers associations in the European Union. FEP represents 28 national associations of book publishers of the European Union and of the European Economic Area. www.fep-fee.eu

The International Publishers Association is the international federation of national publishers associations, representing all aspects of book and journal publishing from around the world. IPA is an industry association with a human rights mandate. It fights against censorship and promotes copyright, literacy and freedom to publish, around the world. www.internationalpublishers.org

PRESS RELEASE (20/07/2015)