Abolishing VAT on Ebooks

This is a bit of a selfish post. For those who didn't know, in the UK books are VAT (tax) exempt. Ebooks, however, are classed as digital downloads, so get charged a full rate of 20% VAT. There have been some changes to the E.U. rules to allow governments to remove tax on books, but so far no one seems to have done so.

This is one of the reasons (given, anyway) ebooks are more expensive than print.

If you're a UK resident, you can add your name to a petition to change this.

The petition introductory page probably makes a better argument:

Paper books are free from VAT despite their impact on the environment yet e-books carry 20% VAT. Paper books need oil based inks and glues, high energy use for paper production and printing, oil fuel for distribution and large land use for warehousing. At the end of their lives many find their way to landfill. E-books are far more environmentally friendly using a tiny fraction of the energy of a paper book for production, distribution and storage and at the end its life it is simply deleted. A book should be defined by what it provides not the material that is used to produce it and the more environmentally friendly version should be encouraged and not discouraged by VAT.


You can sign the petition here.

1 Comment

  1. Dave Penney

    I agree it is unfair that books are subject to a 0% rate of VAT in this country while the self same words in digital form attract a 20% VAT rate. When you consider the environmental impact books, newspapers etc have on our world, I highly recommend that we should icrease the VAT rate on books and Newspapers to 20%. Who knows it may discourage people from buying the things or alternatively the additional tax it would generate may help to reduce the country's deficit.

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