A crucial part of IPA's mission is to inform member associations and the wider global publishing community about breaking developments which will impact publishers. We do this through a number of channels. the IPA website, our monthly e-newsletter, press releases and the IPA's dedicated social media feeds.
IPA FEP 2018 VAT Report logo

The new VAT report published by IPA and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) covers more countries than ever before and notes recent changes in the EU and campaigning in the UK to axe the reading tax.

For a number of years, the International Publishers Association (IPA) and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) have questioned our members and conducted desk research into as many countries as possible about the rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) applied to printed books and e-books. For the purposes of this report, we refer only to VAT, although it has various names worldwide, notably ‘Goods & Services Tax’ (GST) and ‘sales tax’.

This year, the IPA and FEP received answers from 134 countries (up by 32 in 2016) to the following questions:

  • Standard VAT rate
  • Rate of VAT applied to print books
  • Rate of VAT applied to e-books

You can read the full report here but below are some highlights:

  • The consumer pays no VAT on printed books in 53 countries (40%) a total which includes a handful of countries where books are VAT exempt.
  • 68 countries (51%) applied the standard national rate of VAT to e-books.
  • The consumer pays no VAT on e-books in 37 countries (27%).
  • 37 countries (27% of the total) zero-rate both book formats.

José Borghino noted: A zero rate of VAT on all titles boosts consumption of literature generally and of textbooks in the classroom and at home. Books deliver knowledge, but the book market is highly price-sensitive. Any increase in cost, however small, can inflict serious damage to sales and therefore future investment in more innovative and effective titles. In order to support the knowledge economy, to encourage reading and to promote the benefits of lifelong education, the IPA recommends zero-rate VAT for all books, no matter what their format or how they are accessed.

Commenting on the recent law changes in the EU, the FEP’s Enrico Turrin said: It marks the end of the unjustified fiscal discrimination between books in different formats, acknowledging the equal value of all books and the technological transformation of the sector. We now hope that as many EU Member States as possible take the opportunity and apply the new Directive – and as of April 2019 signs are encouraging, with several countries having taken advantage of the new Directive, and several more planning to do so between now and early 2020.

Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, said: Without quick and decisive action from the government, the UK’s digital policy risks falling behind its European neighbours. Zero-rating digital publications is a change which will not only put money into the pocket of consumers but also benefit authors, publishers and the wider UK economy. Reading is a social good, regardless of whether we read pixels or ink. That’s why we’re calling on the UK government to stick to its principles of not taxing knowledge by acting urgently to axe the reading tax.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Blog

Hugo Setzer
07 November 2019
Publishing industry

October and the first days of November were again very busy, with visits to four different countries and three book fairs in the course of three weeks.

James Taylor
25 October 2019
Copyright
Publishing industry

SCCR 39 concluded this evening with an agreement found on how to keep the Exceptions and Limitations discussion moving forward and the other agenda items wrapped up and a possible new issue raised in the chamber.

James Taylor
24 October 2019
Copyright
Publishing industry

The second day of discussions on the broadcasting treaty were mainly conducted behind closed doors with the plenary chamber finally filling at 17:40 for a presentation of conclusions.

James Taylor
23 October 2019
Copyright
Publishing industry
Today’s discussions saw the focus shift from Exceptions and Limitations to the Broadcasting Treaty (and sadly not about all of the value generated by the copyright in an original work that migrates from being a book to a film, for example). The Excep...
James Taylor
22 October 2019
Copyright
Publishing industry
Educational Publishing

The first day closed with Dr Kenneth Crews waiting to be grilled by delegates and observers. He was given the opportunity this morning, but the highlights today were the side events and the ripples from some late-night messages to delegates.

James Taylor
21 October 2019
Copyright
Publishing industry
Educational Publishing
While the publishing industry was gathered in Frankfurt last week for the most important international book fair in the world, the action was already starting at WIPO in Geneva with an International Conference on Exceptions and Limitations on Friday ...
Ben Steward
01 October 2019
Freedom to publish
Book policy
Copyright
Literacy
Publishing industry

The second and final day of the IPA Regional Seminar in the Middle East was opened by Sharjah publisher Bodour Al Qasimi (Kalimat Group), who is (among other things) also the IPA Vice-President.

Ben Steward
30 September 2019
Publishing industry
When the IPA regional seminar in Amman, Jordan, got underway this morning there was a crackle of promise in the air. This was more than a conference opening – it was like the inauguration of a new bridge spanning the space between the IPA’s global me...

Press Releases campaign 2019

 

Press Releases campaign 2018

 

Newsletters campaigns 2019

 

Newsletters campaigns 2018

 

International Publishers Association

23, avenue de France
1202 Geneva, Switzerland
+41 22 704 18 20
info@internationalpublishers.org

Subscribe to our newsletter