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Europe's publishers call for lowering of digital VAT

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Europe's publishers have called on the European Commission to follow France's lead and reduce VAT for digital press. A recent government initiative in France brought VAT on digital press in France down from 20 per cent to 2.1 per cent. This reduced rate is in line with the rate charged for the France’s printed press.

Rates for the printed press currently vary enormously from Member State to Member State. Belgium, Denmark and the UK have zero-rates for newspapers, while and Bulgaria and Slovakia charge VAT at 20 per cent, for example.

EPC Chairman and Chairman of Impresa in Portugal, Francisco Pinto Balsemão, said, ‘Since there is no EU allowance for reduced VAT rates for digital press at the moment, the French Government is making a stand with this announcement and we publishers applaud it for taking a lead to end this discriminatory tax system that is holding back the EU digital economy. The future of publishing lies in developing innovative online business models so that consumers can enjoy our content online on tablets, pcs, mobile, whatever they want. If we are to encourage both innovation from our content providers and consumption of high quality, authoritative, reliable content from our consumers, there should be no discrimination between the modes of delivery.’