VAT on E-Books

European Union (EU) VAT directives have traditionally required member states to apply their standard VAT charges for electronic services, including e-books. At a minimum, this would mean a 15 per cent VAT charge on e-books, whereas physical / printed books have been eligible for reduced VAT rates, with books generally zero rated in the UK.

The European Parliament voted in favour of recent European Commission proposals on allowing member states to charge reduced VAT on e-books. Moreover, in October 2018 the European Council agreed to allow VAT charges on e-books to be brought into alignment with the reduced charges applied to physical books. 

The Government keeps all taxes under review, and these are considered as part of the normal budget process. As regards the Autumn Budget 2018, the Government does not currently have plans to reduce the rate of VAT on e-books and I have ensured Ministers are aware of the arguments being made for a reduction.