The European Parliament on June 1 voted in favor of proposed changes to EU value-added tax law to introduce a reduced rate of VAT on e-books, to bring their treatment into line with that of printed matter.
The proposal was endorsed by Parliament by 590 votes to 8, with 10 abstentions.
Under the current rules, e-books must be taxed at an EU minimum standard rate of 15 percent. On the other hand, member states can charge a reduced rate of at least five percent – and in some cases, zero rates – on printed publications.
Music and videos, as well as publications predominantly consisting of music and video content, would continue to be taxed at the standard rate.
The rapporteur for the proposal, Tom Vandenkendelaere, said: "Our way of reading has rapidly changed over recent years. Now, it makes no sense to apply a double standard whereby an online newspaper is taxed higher than a printed one you buy in a shop. This new Directive will give member states the option to align VAT on digital content with printed matter."