Should knowledge be taxed? Authors are invited to submit their views

ALCS would like to make Members aware that the European Commission (EC) has launched a public consultation which seeks to address the inconsistency between VAT on print and electronic publications.

Print books in the UK have had a zero rate of VAT since the introduction of the tax in 1973. E-books are not however exempt from VAT as print books are. The EC is aware of this inconsistency and the current consultation forms part of its ‘2016 VAT Actions Plan’ to address this. However, the EC is concerned that any changes may cause an imbalance in the market which is why they are inviting readers, authors, businesses and retailers, among others, to give their views.

The Society of Authors (SoA) are encouraging all of their Members to add their voices to the discussion, and have drawn up a list of recommendations for writers.

In a blog posted on the 11 August, the SoA states: “We have always argued that a tax on books amounts to an inappropriate tax on knowledge. When first proposing VAT in 1969, Iain Macleod MP said: ‘On the general principle of avoiding a tax on knowledge we intend that books, journals, newspapers and broadcasting shall be at a zero rate.’”

The consultation will close on Monday 19 September.

Read the recommendations set out by the SoA
Complete the questionnaire
Read the EC consultation page