Application of VAT to the supply of electronic  books  in  the European union legislation Cover Image

Облагането с ДДС на доставката на електронни книги в законодателството на Европейския съюз
Application of VAT to the supply of electronic books in the European union legislation

Author(s): Georgi Alexandrov
Subject(s): Social Sciences, Economy, Media studies, Business Economy / Management, Communication studies
Published by: Софийски университет »Св. Климент Охридски«
Keywords: electronic books; value added tax; VAT rates; publishing; European Union; legislation

Summary/Abstract: The research is inspired by the internationally ongoing discussions on the treatment of printed and electronic books in regards to the value added tax (VAT). Almost all countries in the European Union apply reduced VAT rates on printed books, but the supply of electronic books is still considered „electronically supplied service“ and cannot benefit from reduced rates according to the VAT Directive from 2006. The change of these rules turned to be a complicated process. The VAT treatment of electronic books has become a subject of high significance for the EU institutions, the international publishers’ organizations, and the book publishing companies. The study presents all major initiatives, projects and resolutions at EU level concerning the VAT treatment of the electronic books in the period 2006 – 2017. Specific cases of local legislative actions are also examined. The descriptive part of the paper is based on official documents of the EU institutions, dedicated researches, international organizations reports, and media publications. The analytical part reveals the connection between the juridical, economic and sociocultural aspects of the subject. The adduced facts and arguments lead to the conclusion that the VAT legislation concerning the electronic books has become irrelevant to the technological innovations in the modern publishing. The study formulates the forecast for upcoming finalization of the VAT reform by establishing equal tax treatment of the print and electronic books in the EU legislation.