Startup publishers boosted as MEPs vote in favour of scrapping VAT on electronic books

Mark Sands
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EU Referendum - Strasbourg The Seat Of The EU Parliament
MEPs voted to cut the VAT charge in a non-binding motion this morning. (Source: Getty)

The European Parliament has voted in favour of VAT being scrapped on e-books, bringing them into line with paper tomes.

MEPs came together across party lines to demand that extra charges are scrapped for the digital publications.

In the UK, newspapers and printed books are VAT-free, but EU rules mean that readers of e-book are obliged to pay and extra 20 per cent in VAT for their choice of picking up an electronic treatise.

The verdict from MEPs is non-binding but must be considered by the European Commission as it tweaks regulations on VAT for digital services.

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London MEP and leader of European Parliament Conservatives Syed Kamall said the move would support start up publishers, as well as consumers of a more technological opus.

“You only have to ride on the tube or bus to see how popular e-books are,” he said.

“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.”

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