Let’s end this unfair tax on e-books

Campaigning MEP Julie Girling is backing moves to cut VAT on e-books.

She will support a vote in the European Parliament tomorrow (Thurs) calling for the discrepancy to be ended which obliges governments to slap hefty VAT charges on e-books and other digital publishing while the tax is waived for printed books and newspapers.

In Britain, for example, newspapers and printed books are VAT-free, but EU rules mean that readers choosing e-books are obliged to pay and extra 20 per cent in VAT.

The vote, which is expected to be passed with a hefty majority, is officially non-binding but will have to be considered by the European Commission as it makes amendments to its regulations on VAT for digital services.

Mrs Girling, Conservative MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, said: “What we have now is plainly unfair and must be holding back the digital sector. There is no logical reason whatsoever why the tax system should favour one form of reading over another.

“It is high time e-books and digital publishing were allowed to compete fairly with print on a level playing field. That will be good for readers and good for publishing.”