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Old 01-14-2010, 10:36 AM   #1
pdurrant
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VAT on ebooks - changes and petitions

There's an article on The Register about ebooks and VAT:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/14/ebooks_vat/

It seems there has been a change in EU law, such that governments will be allowed to charge the same reduced VAT rate on ebooks as on books from January 2011, or earlier if they wish.

[EDIT: As pointed below, this change is for ebooks supplied on a physical medium only - now electronic delivery.]

Spain has already done so.

It might (just) help if UK based members of Mobileread signed up to the current petition (closing 21st Jan 2010) on the Number 10 web site:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/eBooksVAT/


It seems to be good news for ebook buyers in the EU - if governments take advantage of the new regulations.

Last edited by pdurrant; 01-15-2010 at 06:03 AM. Reason: VAT change for physical distribution only
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:42 AM   #2
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I had already signed the petition long ago... 53 signatures are not that many, but I don't even know if it will make a difference. Let's hope so!
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:15 AM   #3
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I have signed - but as the government is strapped for cash, I can't see them letting go of any revenue stream, however small!
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Old 01-14-2010, 02:10 PM   #4
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Old 01-14-2010, 03:51 PM   #5
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63 sigs now, hope more people vote.
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:20 PM   #6
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It's a start, guys'n'gals. Just keep it up! Signed the petition over here too. Eventually they've got to listen.
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:32 PM   #7
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Have signed the petition - here's hoping it helps.
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:24 PM   #8
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I have read the article.

Now the vat rate on the e-readers is still the standard one...does someone know when it will be changed?
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:36 PM   #9
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I Signed it when the petition was first bought up a while ago.

It still needs some promotion, so it might be worth asking Alex to mention it on the news page to bring more attention to it, or make it a sticky so that people who may be interested or are affected can see it before it gets buried.
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Old 01-15-2010, 03:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by italianReader View Post
Now the vat rate on the e-readers is still the standard one...does someone know when it will be changed?
I can't see the VAT rate on ebook readers ever changing to match the rate on books.
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Old 01-15-2010, 03:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
The problem with changing the regulations has always been the requirement for a unanimous vote at EU level, something rather more difficult than calculating the square root of -1.
This made me laugh!


But, sorry to burst your bubble:

Quote:
and member countries will be allowed to charge a reduced VAT rate on "any similar physical medium that predominantly reproduce the same textual information content as printed books", come January 2011.
It only goes for physical medium. An ebook that you download isn't a physical medium. Were bookshops to sell a "card" with a code and an URL where to download the ebook, maybe...

Right here, in the Netherlands, you can better buy an audiobook in a store on CD rather than buy the exact same audiobook online as MP3. The first has the lower VAT (6% in our case), the second the higher (19% in our case).
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:54 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
Right here, in the Netherlands, you can better buy an audiobook in a store on CD rather than buy the exact same audiobook online as MP3. The first has the lower VAT (6% in our case), the second the higher (19% in our case).
Is the government aware of this, I wonder, and believes for some twisted reason that it's reasonable, or is it just one of these things that happens when the people who make the laws have no idea what is really going on in the market? It makes no sense whatsoever! (Generate more garbage for the exact same product, and we reward you with reduced vat)
Sighh....
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:02 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
But, sorry to burst your bubble:
It only goes for physical medium. An ebook that you download isn't a physical medium. Were bookshops to sell a "card" with a code and an URL where to download the ebook, maybe...
Having looked into this further, I find you're right - the change in the regulations definitely refers only to physical equivalents (CD-ROMs, etc).

Which makes me wonder what on earth Spain is up to. Givernments aren't allowed to apply reduced rate VAT to any products they care to nominate - they have to be kinds of products it's been agreed can have the reduced rate. And as you've pointed out, I was wrong - on-line ebooks still aren't included.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:26 AM   #14
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I'm all for this and signed immediately. Anyone with an account on Twitter, facebook, etc should spread this around. Same for online forums like Reddit and Digg. Spread the word.
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:47 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by omk3 View Post
Is the government aware of this, I wonder, and believes for some twisted reason that it's reasonable, or is it just one of these things that happens when the people who make the laws have no idea what is really going on in the market? It makes no sense whatsoever! (Generate more garbage for the exact same product, and we reward you with reduced vat)
Sighh....
Yes and I agree...

And Spain is just saying: we ignore that rule and do whatever we want with the book price. It looks like they're actually aware of the inconsistency of this ruling...
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