By Cédric Puisney, CC BY-SA 3.0

From a briefing of the European Parliament, February 2016: E-Books. Evolving markets and new challenges

An announcement of the EC on the application of reduced VAT rates on ebooks is to be expected by the end of 2016.

„The advent of e-books is pushing publishers and booksellers alike to establish a digital strategy. Failure to do so can be fatal. […]

The European Parliament (EP) considers that the VAT rate applicable to e-books is a short-coming of current legislation. The EP suggested allowing Member States to apply a reduced VAT rate, on a temporary basis, to electronically supplied services with cultural content. In a May 2015 plenary debate, Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for the Digital Agenda stated that ‚the Commission [had] already started working on the VAT regime, including looking at the application of reduced VAT rates’, and would announce conclusions in 2016. Commissioner for the Economy and the Digital Society, Günther Oettinger, stressed that the lack of harmonisation of tax rates for online trade is ‚unacceptable‘, a position echoed by Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker speaking to the Association of German Newspaper Publishers.


The European Commission has already begun a reflection on the VAT regime, including considering the application of reduced VAT rates and is to announce its conclusions by the end of 2016.“