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UK book industry calls to end VAT on ebooks, audiobooks

UK book industry figures and organisations have delivered a letter to the chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid calling for an end to the 20% value-added tax (VAT) that currently applies to ebooks and audiobooks, reports the Guardian.

The letter, which was signed by 100 MPs, demands that the government ‘end the unfair tax on learning by zero-rating VAT on epublications’. Print books have been zero-rated since VAT was introduced in 1973, and the ‘Axe the Reading Tax‘ campaign argues that the 20% tax on ebooks and audiobooks unfairly affects those including students, young readers and people with disabilities who rely on technology to read books.

The UK Publishers Association was joined in delivering the letter by authors Cressida Cowell and Konnie Huq, as well as the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the National Literacy Trust.

‘The government rightly does not apply VAT to printed books, newspapers and magazines, acknowledging the intrinsic value of reading and knowledge and the importance of the accessibility of these materials,’ the letter reads. ‘However, as consumers embrace the benefits of digital technology, more readers are unfairly penalised for the format they favour. This anomaly must end.’

In October last year the European Union’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council voted to allow VAT-free status on ebooks and audiobooks for all EU member states.


Category: International news