Reduced value-added tax rate for e-books
The decision, in early 2015, not to open the door to reduced value-added tax rates for e-books is being reversed. Soon it will be permissible for EU Member States to introduce a reduced value-added tax rate for e-books and digital publications.
Although a reduced value-added tax rate of 6% has applied for years to paper-based books and newspapers in the Netherlands, to date EU regulations had barred the application of the same reduced rate to e-books and e-papers. When France and Luxembourg decided to give the reduced rate a whirl anyway, they were promptly warned off by the European Commission and summarily ordered to revert to the top value-added tax rate (which in the Netherlands amounts to 21%). In a remarkable about-face the European Commission last Thursday, the first of December announced that it would allow the reduced value-added tax rate.
Whether (and if so, in what sort of time frame) the Dutch cabinet intends to submit a proposal for introduction of the reduced value-added tax rate on e-books is not yet known. The ball is now in the court of the European Parliament and that of the various Member States, for ratification of the regulatory amendment.
Dutch version: Verlaagd BTW-tarief E-books