VAT rates in Belgium to change for e-books and e-betting

The government announced plans to reduce VAT rates in Belgium: there is planned a sizeable decrease in tax on e-books. Electronic books are currently taxed at 21% and this proposal would reduce the VAT rate to 6%.

Belgium is the last country planning to reduce rates on e-books despite the ECJ and European Commission persistently denying permission to Member States to reduce such rates. According to these institutions, e-books are not part of the Appendix III of the VAT Directive and hence cannot benefit from reduced VAT rates.

France, Italy and Poland already had disputes with Brussels around VAT rates on electronic books. In the meantime, because this is an area of recurrent conflict, the European Commission published the VAT Action Plan suggesting additional freedom for Member States when deciding the scope of reduced VAT rates.

In addition to these changes, Belgium raised VAT rates on online betting to 21% from 1 July 2016. Contrary to e-books, EU countries can decide on VAT rates on online betting.

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