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India reduces GST on ebooks

In India, the GST Council has announced that GST on ebooks will be reduced from 18% to 5%, but the lack of clarity has left publishers ‘perplexed’, reports the Hindu.

The GST reduction only applies to an ebook that is published alongside a print edition, but it is not known if just one printed copy is enough for an ebook to qualify for the reduction.

Hachette India managing director Thomas Abraham said, ‘The whole thing is a bit absurd. It would have made more sense if the rather draconian 12% new GST levied on royalties had been abolished, and the 12% GST on printing material was reduced, back to 5%. Both have come as a double whammy that have raised costs for publishers with no respite, as input tax credit is also not available for books, because books are GST-exempt.’

Penguin Random House India COO Sanjiv Gupta said, ‘In India, typically the cost of an ebook is the same as the print book. It’s a welcome step but [the GST council] should reduce the tax on printing of books. We had VAT earlier and that was 4% to 5% and some printers were charging it and others were not.’ 

According to a report by The Indian Express, the new GST rates will come into effect from 27 July.



Category: International news