VAT rate changes on e-books in Estonia, Spain and UK
VAT rates on e-books have decreased widely since October 2018.
3 May, 2020
Applicable VAT rates on e-books and other electronic publications has been reduced in Estonia, Spain and UK. In Estonia, rates were reduced from 20% to 9%, in Spain, from 21% to 4%, and in the UK, from 20% to 0%.
Scope of VAT rate changes on e-books
These changes were recently announced and became effective almost immediately. In UK, such reduction was only expected in December 2020, but the UK government accelerated to implementation date in view of the Coronavirus outbreak.
CountryVAT rate changes on e-books
EstoniaFrom 20% to 9% as from 1 May 2020
SpainFrom 21% to 4% as from 22 April 2020
UKFrom 20% to 0% as from 1 May 2020
In Estonia not all electronic publications are included in this reduction. Those e-publications including pornographic content will remain at the standard VAT rate. Also, video and music resources, as well as publications with mainly advertising content will remain subject to the standard VAT rate of 20%.
These changes are part of a long-standing debate about the scope of reduced VAT rates on e-publications. Despite the limitations in the VAT Directive about the use of reduced rates on electronic services, the ECOFIN in October 2018 concluded that countries may allow reducing VAT rates on certain electronic publications. This decision gave raise to numerous changes across the EU and today most countries apply reduced VAT rates on e-books and other electronic publications.
Additional resources on e-books VAT rate changes
- Our overview of VAT rates in Europe provides a detailed list of rates in each EU country.
- Estonian Official Gazette on new VAT rates.
- Spanish Official Gazette with the announcement of reduced VAT rates.
- HMRC Brief on new VAT rates on e-books in the UK
Contact us to receive an overview of VAT rates on E-publications and ebooks in Europe.