An EU Commission proposal to enable member states to charge a reduced rate of VAT on e-books, which would bring them into line with VAT levied on printed matter, has been endorsed by the European Parliament.

Currently, e-books have to be taxed at an EU minimum standard rate of 15%, whereas member states are free to charge a reduced rate of 5%, or in some cases zero rate, on printed publications.

Whilst music and videos, as well as publications predominantly consisting of music and video content, will continue to be taxed at the standard VAT rate, the proposal for e-books will be welcomed by many. This proposal is in line with the Commission's 2016 Action Plan on VAT and demonstrates its commitment to keep pace with the challenges of today's digital economy. The date for the proposals to take effect has not yet been confirmed.

A copy of the European Parliament's press release is available to view here.