On 10 June, the Bulgarian Parliament adopted a proposal to reduce VAT on several goods and services, including books (only print), from the standard 20% rate to a reduced rate of 9%. 

The measure, which will enter into force as of the 1st of July, is part of the government’s recovery plan from the COVID-19 crisis. It is meant to be a temporary initiative, until the end of 2021. It is nonetheless very significant, as Bulgaria was one of two EU Members States to never have applied reduced VAT on books (the other being Denmark) – whereas the other 25 have a reduced or super-reduced (or even zero) rate for print books, as do the UK and EEA countries Norway and Iceland. 

Moreover, 18 Member States apply a reduced rate to digital books. The possibility to apply reduced VAT to print books has been enshrined in EU legislation since many years, whereas only in 2018 was the legal framework modified to include digital publications. Two Member States (Spain and Estonia) and the UK adopted or sped up the adoption of reduced rates on digital publications as a crisis-related measure.

Thanks to Enrico Turrin of FEP for this update.