You can also read an update on the issue in CITY AM as well as my comments – http://www.cityam.com/265819/startup-publishers-boosted-meps-vote-favour-scrapping-vat
London MEP Syed Kamall is backing moves to reverse EU rules that oblige national governments to put VAT on e-books.
He will support a vote in the European Parliament today (Thurs) calling for the discrepancy to be ended which obliges governments to slap hefty VAT charges on e-books and other digital publishing while the tax is waived for printed books and newspapers.
In Britain, for example, newspapers and printed books are VAT-free, but EU rules mean that readers choosing e-books are obliged to pay and extra 20 per cent in VAT.
The vote, which is is expected to be passed with a hefty majority, is officially non-binding but will have to be considered by the European Commission as it makes amendments to its regulations on VAT for digital services.
Dr Kamall, who sits on the parliament’s influential Monetary and Economic Affairs Committee and is a member of Tech UK’s Brexit advisory board, is eager to support self-publishers and start-up publishing houses who specialise in digital distribution.
He said: “You only have to ride on the tube or bus to see how popular e-books are.
“But those readers are all being discriminated against and disadvantaged because they have to pay VAT on every book they buy.
“London is a real launchpad for new e-publishers but the current tax regime means that these new businesses are fighting against grossly unfair competition from traditional print publishers.
“E-books and digital platforms are the new kids on the block and deserve fair treatment. The system we now have punishes both them and their readers.
“I hope the Commission will act and let Britain decide for ourselves whether we tax e-books or not.”