Abolish VAT on ebooks

Posted on by Mike Evans

Dead-tree books sold in the UK enjoy exemption from the 20 percent rate of Value Added Tax (VAT). In contrast, ebooks are taxed. There is absolutely no reason for this discrepancy since both means of delivery achieve the same end: Encouraging people to read which, presumably, is the reason for the exemption in the first place. Now we have an opportunity to add our names to this petition on the Government’s new web site. Here’s the one I found:


Responsible department: Her Majesty’s Treasury

Paper books are free from VAT despite their impact on the environment yet e-books carry 20% VAT. Paper books need oil based inks and glues, high energy use for paper production and printing, oil fuel for distribution and large land use for warehousing. At the end of their lives many find their way to landfill. E-books are far more environmentally friendly using a tiny fraction of the energy of a paper book for production, distribution and storage and at the end its life it is simply deleted. A book should be defined by what it provides not the material that is used to produce it and the more environmentally friendly version should be encouraged and not discouraged by VAT.

If you would like to sign, you will find the petition here.

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