Following legislative change in the European Union (EU) on 2 October 2018, EU Member States continue to reduce VAT rates for eBooks and audiobooks, often aligning them with physical books. Slovenia and Poland are the latest countries to act while the Publishers Association in the UK Campaigns hard.
September 2019 saw the Polish President Andrzej Duda sign the bill that will bring VAT on eBooks and audiobooks down from 23% to just 5%. The bill received broad support in the Parliament and will come into force on 1 November (source: Publishing Perspectives)
Slovenia has also brought VAT down from 22% to 9.5% with the change coming into effect on 1 January 2020 (source: Booksquad).
The list of European countries expected to have revised VAT rates on eBooks by 1 January 2020 is now: Finland, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Norway, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.
For an overview of VAT rates around the world in 2018, see IPA and FEP’s VAT Annual Global Report.
Publishing Perspectives reported in August on the situation in Latvia which saw VAT on print books rise from 5% to 21% in 2008 with subsequent falls to 12% and no change in sight on eBooks which are taxed at 21%.