VAT on eBooks

Here’s a story you might have missed as it had the dreaded ‘tax’ word in the title, but it has implications for authors and readers alike. For years, and for no common-sense reason that anyone can guess, the EC classed ebooks as ‘electronically supplied services.’ As a result, VAT is charged at 15% on ebooks while 0% is charged on paperback books, which are classed, not unreasonably as ‘books’. Yes, I know it sounds stupid but who said EC-wide legislation was ever logical?

The men in Brussels have finally woken up and last Saturday agreed to class ebooks as ‘books’. Therefore, sometime in 2017 I would expect ebooks to come into line with paperbacks and be zero-rated for VAT (the tax effectively scrapped). This could mean lower prices for consumers and more royalty for authors, with the biggest changes taking place at the higher end of the ebook price range. Ah, happy days.

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